Preliminary Report: Pilot loses control of Meridian

 - February 28, 2008, 6:50 AM

Piper PA-46 Meridian, San Antonio, Jan. 18, 2008–The instrument-rated pilot of the Meridian was killed and the aircraft destroyed when the pilot lost control on an instrument approach in IMC to San Antonio International Airport. The pilot reported that he was having trouble performing a “coupled” approach and that he was trying to “get control” of the airplane before the flight disappeared from radar.
A retired Navy instructor pilot saw the airplane descending through the overcast and level off at about 300 feet agl. It made a couple of turns, slowed and rolled right to an approximately 60-degree angle before the nose of the airplane fell through to an “extreme nose-low attitude.” The witness said, “The [airplane] exhibited a classic approach turn stall maneuver I had taught many times, but this time with no altitude to recover.”