NTSB Identification: ATL93LA045.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 48218.
Accident occurred Friday, January 01, 1993 in FUQUAY-VARINA, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/25/1993
Aircraft: CESSNA 152, registration: N714XN
Injuries: 1 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

THE STUDENT PILOT HAD PLANNED A SOLO CROSS COUNTRY IN PREPARATION FOR THE PRIVATE PILOT CERTIFICATE. WHEN HE REACHED HIS FIRST DESTINATION AIRPORT, HE COULD NOT OBTAIN FUEL BECAUSE OF THE NEW YEARS HOLIDAY. HE FLEW TO ANOTHER NEARBY AIRPORT, AND HE COULD NOT OBTAIN FUEL THERE EITHER. FINALLY HE WAS ABLE TO LOCATE AN OPEN FBO AND PROCEEDED THERE FOR FUEL. HE INFORMED HIS INSTRUCTOR VIA TELEPHONE THAT HE HAD BEEN DELAYED AND ASKED FOR SOMEONE TO FLY DOWN AND PICK HIM UP, SINCE HE MIGHT NOT MAKE IT BACK PRIOR TO SUNSET. THE INSTRUCTOR TOLD HIM TO FUEL THE AIRPLANE AND RETURN HOME. DURING THE RETURN LEG, IT BECAME DARK. WHILE ESTABLISHED ON FINAL APPROACH FOR LANDING, THE AIRPLANE COLLIDED WITH TREES LOCATED UNDER THE FINAL APPROACH COURSE. THE PILOT LATER REPORTED THAT HE NEVER SAW THE TREES, AND HE FAILED TO UTILIZE THE AIRCRAFT LANDING LIGHT. THE PILOT HAD A TOTAL FLIGHT TIME OF 57 HOURS, INCLUDING 3 AT HOURS AT NIGHT. HIS PREVIOUS NIGHT FLIGHT WAS FLOWN 5 MONTHS PRIOR TO THE ACCIDENT.

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

THE POOR JUDGEMENT OF THE FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR IN ALLOWING HIS STUDENT TO RETURN FROM A CROSS COUNTRY AT NIGHT, AND THE STUDENT PILOT'S FAILURE TO MAINTAIN A PROPER ALTITUDE ON FINAL APPROACH. FACTORS WERE THE DARK NIGHT CONDITIONS, THE TREES BELOW THE FINAL APPROACH PATH, THE FAILURE OF THE PILOT TO UTILIZE THE AIRCRAFT LANDING LIGHT, AND THE STUDENT PILOT'S LACK OF TOTAL EXPERIENCE IN NIGHT FLYING.

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