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Citation Pilot Crashes After Argument With Girlfriend

The unplanned flight was a short one with a tragic conclusion.

Citation Pilot Crashes After Argument With Girlfriend
A Cessna CitationJet similar to the plane that crashed after its owner/pilot embarked on an unplanned flight into bad weather after a fight with his girlfriend. Photo by Peter Bakema (GFDL 1.2) via Wikimedia Commons

A 51-year-old pilot flying alone in his personal Citation jet lost control of the single-pilot jet shortly after takeoff, crashed and was killed upon impact. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined the probable cause of this April 2018 accident was “loss of control while operating in night instrument meteorological conditions as a result of spatial disorientation.” It’s an all-too-common NTSB statement of probable cause, typically seen when a visual flight rules (VFR) pilot pushes into bad weather. But this was an experienced instrument pilot in a well-equipped aircraft. So, what happened?

The pilot claimed 1,900 hours total time on his last medical, but a logbook recovered from the wreckage shows 737 hours, with 13 hours in the previous 30 days. He had FAA ratings for single and multiengine land, instrument airplane and a Cessna CE-525S type rating. The S part of the type-rating allowed him to fly the small-business jet single-pilot.

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