NTSB Identification: NYC95FA001.
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Accident occurred Sunday, October 02, 1994 in MONTGOMERY, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/05/1995
Aircraft: PIPER PA-24-250, registration: N8397F
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

AS THE PILOT APPROACHED THE AIRPORT FOR A NIGHT LANDING, HE CONTACTED UNICOM. THE UNICOM OPERATOR STATED HE RADIOED THE PILOT, 'THE WINDS ARE DOWN RUNWAY 3 AT 040 DEGREES WIND DIRECTION, AT 2 KNOTS.' THE PILOT ACKNOWLEDGED THE TRANSMISSION. RUNWAY 3 IS EQUIPPED WITH VASI AND REIL LIGHTS. HE THEN DID AN APPROACH TO RUNWAY 26, WHICH WAS NOT EQUIPPED WITH GLIDE PATH GUIDANCE, AND HAS A 565 FEET DISPLACED THRESHOLD. ABOUT 1475 FEET FROM THE THRESHOLD THE AIRPLANE STRUCK TREES. THE AIRPLANE CAME TO REST INVERTED. THE PILOT NORMALLY FLEW WITH A SAFETY PILOT. WHEN INTERVIEWED, THE SAFETY PILOT REPORTED THE PILOT WAS NOT CONSIDERED 'SAFE' FOR NIGHT SOLO OPERATIONS. HE WOULD ALSO FORGET CHECKLIST ITEMS AND HAD MADE SHALLOW APPROACHES BEFORE. THE ANGLE BETWEEN THE TREE STRIKE AND DISPLACED THRESHOLD WAS 2.45 DEGREES.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

was the failure of the pilot to maintain adequate terrain clearance on final approach which resulted in a tree strike. Factors were the night conditions and the failure of the pilot to use the recommended runway.

Full narrative available

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