NTSB Identification: ATL91LA175A.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 44314.
Accident occurred Saturday, September 14, 1991 in GREENEVILLE, TN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/31/1993
Aircraft: CESSNA 172K, registration: N78239
Injuries: 6 Uninjured.

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

BOTH PILOTS HAD PLANNED LOCAL SIGHTSEEING NIGHT FLIGHTS. BOTH AIRCRAFT WERE ON AN EASTERLY HEADING, WITH N78239 (A C172K) IN FRONT OF N73L (A C172D). THE AIRCRAFT WERE IN RADIO CONTACT WITH EACH OTHER AND ATC WAS NOT INVOLVED. N78239 INITIATED A 360-DEGREE TURN, AND VISUALLY ACQUIRED THE LIGHTS OF N73L AFTER RESUMING AN EASTERLY HEADING. THE PILOT OF N78239 STATED THAT 'SUDDENLY WE HIT'! ALTHOUGH AT THE TIME HE THOUGHT THE SPACING BETWEEN AIRCRAFT WAS ABOUT 2 MILES. N78239 LANDED WITHOUT FURTHER INCIDENT DESPITE FLIGHT CONTROL PROBLEMS. N73L LOST DIRECTIONAL CONTROL UPON LANDING AND COLLIDED WITH A PARKED AIRPLANE. INSPECTION OF BOTH AIRCRAFT REVEALED THAT N78239 STRUCK N73L FROM THE REAR, THE RIGHT WING LEADING EDGE OF N78239 CONTACTING THE LEFT MAIN LANDING GEAR OF N73L. THE IMPACT BROKE THE WING SPAR OF N78239 AND SEPARATED THE LEFT MAIN GEAR FROM N73L.

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

THE INADEQUATE VISUAL LOOKOUT BY THE PILOT OF N78239, AND HIS FAILURE TO ACCURATELY JUDGE THE DISTANCE BETWEEN THE TWO AIRCRAFT. FACTORS IN THE ACCIDENT WERE THE DARK NIGHT CONDITIONS AND THE RESULTING VISUAL PERCEPTION OF AIRCRAFT LIGHTING IN DARK CONDITIONS.

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