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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 200426
Last updated: 15 October 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic DA40 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Diamond DA40 Star
Registration: N105MK
MSN: 40.244
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:near Gustavus Airport, Cortland, OH -   United States of America
Phase: Landing
Departure airport:Monee, IL (C56)
Destination airport:Gustavus, OH (OH33)
Investigating agency: NTSB
The private pilot was maneuvering to land at the destination airport after a cross-country flight in dark night, visual meteorological conditions. The pilot reported that he became disoriented as he orbited the airport waiting for the airport manager to turn on the runway lights, which resulted in him believing that he was on final approach to runway 1 instead of runway 19. The pilot stated that, during final approach, he incorrectly identified a crossing road that he believed was about 3/4 mile south of the runway 1 approach threshold; however, the road he observed was about 1 mile north of the airport. The pilot stated that he and his passenger suddenly saw tree branches appear as the airplane descended on final approach. The pilot immediately increased engine power and airplane pitch in an attempt to avoid the trees, but the right wing impacted a tree, and the airplane subsequently impacted terrain about 1/2 mile north of runway 19.
The pilot reported that there were no mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. The pilot had previously flown 7 hours during nighttime conditions; however, he had not flown at night within the 238 days preceding the accident. According to federal regulations, pilots are prohibited from acting as pilot-in-command with passengers at night unless they have completed three night takeoffs and three night landings within the previous 90 days. An ancillary benefit of pilots maintaining their regulatory night flight currency is that it demonstrates their having an adequate level of proficiency of night flight operations on a recurring basis. The pilot's lack of recent night flight experience likely contributed to his becoming disorientated while maneuvering in the airport traffic pattern, the airplane descending below a normal approach path, and the collision with trees.

Probable Cause: The pilotís geographic disorientation while maneuvering in the airport traffic pattern in dark night conditions, which resulted in the airplane descending below a normal approach path and a collision with trees. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's lack of recent night flight experience.


FAA register:

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 3 months
Download report: Final report


Revision history:

17-Oct-2017 15:16 Geno Added
17-Oct-2017 18:46 Iceman 29 Updated [Time, Nature, Source, Embed code]
18-Oct-2017 06:15 Aerossurance Updated [Location]
07-Feb-2018 13:50 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Operator, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]

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