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Cessna 172 Hawk XP Crash in Chesaning, Michigan

NTSB Accident Brief

Cessna 172 Hawk XP

Chesaning, Michigan
Injuries: 1 Fatal

The pilot departed on a personal flight about 10 minutes before the accident. According to a witness, the pilot was conducting touch-and-go landings at the airport when the engine “cut out” and the airplane went “straight down.” Two other witnesses described a steep bank or a sharp turn before the airplane descended at a steep angle and impacted the ground and then a building. The pilot was fatally injured. Ground scars at the accident site and damage to the airplane were consistent with a left-wing-low attitude and the engine operating at high power at the time of impact. The airplane’s steep bank and descent at a steep angle were consistent with a loss of control. The examination of the airplane and engine revealed no mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operations. Toxicology testing revealed the pilot was using a combination of phenobarbital and phenytoin at the time of the accident. Although these drugs can cause various impairing symptoms, the type of impairment that these drugs cause is unlikely to lead to a sudden loss of control. Both drugs can be used to prevent seizures in patients with epilepsy. Although a seizure or other neurologic event causing sudden incapacitation could have occurred without leaving autopsy evidence, there was not enough available information to indicate that the pilot had an increased risk of such an event. Thus, the investigation could not determine, based on the available information, whether the pilot’s loss of airplane control was related to a medical issue. 

Probable cause(s): The pilot’s loss of airplane control for reasons that could not be determined based on the available information.

Note: The report republished here is from the NTSB and is printed verbatim and in its complete form.


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