NTSB Identification: LAX01FA049.
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Accident occurred Thursday, November 30, 2000 in Clifton, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/25/2003
Aircraft: Beech BE-55-D55, registration: N7901R
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.

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 twin-engine airplane impacted a utility pole about 1,250 feet short of the runway while conducting an approach during dark night light conditions. A witness located at the airport observed the airplane make three attempts to land, and on the fourth, the airplane veered to the left and burst into flames. He added he had turned his vehicle lights on at the approach end of the runway so the pilot would be able to land. The same witness indicated he observed the runway lights prior to the accident when another aircraft landed earlier in the evening. The airport utilized a pilot control lighting system, which requires the pilot to key the communication radio mike seven times over the common traffic advisory frequency within 5 seconds to illuminate the runway edge lights on their highest intensity. The runway edge lights would then remain illuminated for a period of 15 minutes from the most recent time of activation. Another pilot, who utilized the airport on the day of the accident, reported no discrepancies with the lighting system 30 minutes prior to and following the accident. A postaccident examination of the communication radios could not determine which frequency the pilot had selected. The aircraft's altimeter face was located in the wreckage and was set so that it was reading approximately 150 feet higher than the aircraft's actual altitude. Another airport, located 22 miles from the accident site, utilized continuous runway lighting between sunset and sunrise.

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

the pilot's improper in-flight decision to attempt a landing on an unlit runway at night, and his failure to maintain the proper glide path and clearance from obstacles while on final approach, which resulted in the collision with a utility pole. A contributing factor was his failure to divert to an airport with constant runway lighting.

Full narrative available

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