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Narrative:A Cessna 421C Golden Eagle III aircraft, N48DL, departed Slidell Airport - KASD, LA, at 06:40 local time on a flight to Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport - SPQ/ KSRQ, FL, across the Gulf of Mexico. It reached an altitude of FL280 some 38 minutes later.
Cessna 421C Golden Eagle III
|Owner/operator:||Lee H Aviation Inc.|
|C/n / msn:|| 421C0511|
|Fatalities:||Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1|
|Airplane damage:|| Substantial|
|Location:||Gulf of Mexico, approximately 150 miles from Sarasota, FL -
United States of America
|Phase:|| En route|
|Investigating agency: ||National Transport Safety Bureau (NTSB) - United States of America |
N48DL remained at this altitude for twenty minutes, when it began a gradual climbing turn to the right to about 30.800 feet.
From then on the aircraft began to fly left hand 360-degree turns.
Because the pilot failed to respond to air traffic control, two Air National Guard McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle fighter jets (159th Fighter Wing) departed New Orleans, reaching the aircraft at about 09:30 local time. The ANG crew also were unable to make contact with the pilot.
The aircraft continued flying circles, attaining an altitude of FL330 approximately four hours into the flight. N48DL then began to descend at an increasing rate until it ditched in the Gulf of Mexico, approximately 150 miles from Sarasota, Florida. The ANG pilots of the scrambled F-15's said that the Cessna’s windows were iced over, a common sign of pressurization problems.
The pilot didn't survive.
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