NTSB Rates Pilot of Plane That Killed Congressman in Crash 'Unqualified'

United Press International

The pilot of a small airplane that crashed in a wooded area in Mississippi last year, killing Rep. Larkin Smith (R-Miss.), was not qualified to fly in the weather conditions he encountered, a federal agency said Friday.

In its final report, the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that pilot Chuck Vierling was not "instrument rated" to fly into hazy conditions he encountered near New Augusta, Miss., on the night of Aug. 13, 1989, with Smith aboard.

The likely cause of tHe accident, the NTSB said, "was the in-flight loss of control by the noninstrument-rated pilot after encountering instrument meteorological combinations resulting in the airplane spiraling into a wooded area."

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