NTSB Identification: LAX00LA005.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, October 05, 1999 in TONOPAH, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/25/2001
Aircraft: Cessna 210B, registration: N9609X
Injuries: 2 Serious.

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 airport operator reported that it was a very dark night and the airplane requested advisories on the Unicom frequency. The runway lights illuminated and the operator awaited the airplane's arrival. When the airplane did not appear and the runway lights shutoff automatically, the operator began looking for the airplane. He saw a rotating red light in the area where the base leg should have been flown, drove to the site, and discovered the airplane. The airport operator said that the area surrounding the airport is very sparsely populated and the only lighted visual queues during night approaches are the runway lights. The pilot said he lost sight of the threshold lights and unknowingly lost excessive altitude while on downwind. During the base turn, the left main wheel touched the ground and rolled a short distance before the gear collapsed and the airplane slid to a stop.

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

The pilot's failure to monitor his altitude and maintain an adequate terrain clearance during the approach. The dark night lighting conditions and the visual illusion created by the lack of ground reference lights were factors in the accident.

Full narrative available

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