NTSB Identification: BFO92FA069.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 46705.
Accident occurred Monday, May 18, 1992 in PRINCETON, NJ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/21/1993
Aircraft: CESSNA 172P, registration: N55110
Injuries: 2 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.

THE AIRPLANE STRUCK A 50 FOOT HIGH TREE AT NIGHT, 1200 FEET BEYOND THE DEPARTURE END OF RUNWAY 28. THE AIRPLANE WAS HEADED WESTBOUND. THERE WERE NO KNOWN WITNESSES TO THE ACCIDENT. THE PILOT OF ANOTHER AIRPLANE WAS TRYING TO LAND USING RUNWAY 28, BUT WAS TWICE UNSUCCESSFUL, WHICH SHE ATTRIBUTED TO A TAILWIND, SO SHE LANDED ON THE FIRST TRY USING RUNWAY 10. AFTER HER SECOND TRY TO LAND ON RUNWAY 28, SHE NOTICED ANOTHER AIRPLANE, ALSO DOING A GO AROUND AFTER AN UNSUCCESSFUL LANDING ATTEMPT ON RUNWAY 28. SHE RADIOED THE PILOT TO ADVISE HIM TO USE RUNWAY 10, AND HE REPLIED WITH AN UNCLEAR TRANSMISSION WHICH ABRUPTLY ENDED. THE INVESTIGATION REVEALED THE PILOT HAD CONDUCTED NIGHT FLIGHT AT THIS AIRPORT FOUR TIMES BEFORE. HE HAD FOUR HOURS OF TOTAL NIGHT FLIGHT TIME. THE INVESTIGATION DID NOT REVEAL EVIDENCE OF MECHANICAL MALFUNCTION AND THE FLAPS WERE EXTENDED FIVE DEGREES. ACCORDING TO CESSNA, DURING A GO AROUND, THE FLAPS SHOULD BE REDUCED TO 10 DEGREES UNTIL OBSTACLES HAVE BEEN CLEARED.

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

THE PILOT'S FAILURE TO MAINTAIN CLEARANCE OVER AN OBSTACLE. CONTRIBUTING FACTORS WERE A TAILWIND, DARK NIGHT, AND PREMATURE RAISING OF THE FLAPS.

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