NTSB Identification: FTW95FA407.
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Accident occurred Friday, September 29, 1995 in BRADY, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/11/1996
Aircraft: Beech A36, registration: N836AA
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.

During a dark night visual approach to an unlighted airport, the airplane collided with a 50-foot tall pole, which was part of the antenna for a nondirectional radio beacon (NDB). The FAA aeronautical study for the installation of the NDB determined that the antenna was not a hazard to air navigation and did not require obstruction lighting. Airport personnel reported the runway lights and rotating beacon had been turned off to close the airport to night operations the night of 9/29; however, a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) was not filed. Prior to initiating the flight, the pilot received a weather briefing during which he specifically requested NOTAMs on the airport and was informed that none were on file. Witnesses observed the airplane circle the airport 'two or three times' before entering a descent 'like it was going to land.' Toxicological testing detected doxylamine (Unisom), which is not approved for use while flying, in the pilot's urine. Dextromethorphan (an expectorant), pseudoephedrine and phenlypropanolamine (decongestants) were detected in the pilot's blood and urine.

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

the pilot's improper decision to attempt a night landing without the visual cues necessary to establish runway alignment. Factors were the dark night light condition, the inoperative runway edge lights, and the failure of airport management to issue a NOTAM that the airport was closed to night operations.

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