NTSB Identification: IAD01LA028.
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Accident occurred Friday, January 19, 2001 in Bluefield, WV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/02/2002
Aircraft: Piper 34-200T, registration: N99ED
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot attempted two ILS approaches to the airport, and then was contacted by a lineman informing him that the pilot-controlled runway lights were on the low setting, and he would increase their intensity. The pilot then flew a third approach, and while looking for the lights at the decision height, the airplane impacted trees and came to rest on the ground. The pilot reported no mechanical deficiencies with the airplane, and stated that he may have been concentrating on "looking for the lights," while on the approach and not monitoring his altitude. The weather reported at 1952, included a visibility of 1/4 mile with fog, few clouds at 100 feet, ceiling 800 feet overcast, temperature 39 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 37 degrees Fahrenheit, and altimeter setting 29.78 inches of mercury. The altimeter setting noted in the airplane after the accident was 29.97. A review of the FAA ILS RWY 23 approach chart for the airport indicated that the decision height for the approach was 300 feet, and the minimum landing visibility was 1 mile. According to the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM), Section 7-2-3 ALTIMETER ERRORS, "If you do not reset your altimeter when flying from an area of high pressure into an area of low pressure, your aircraft will be closer to the surface than your altimeter indicates. An inch error in the altimeter setting equals 1,000 feet of altitude."

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

The pilot's failure to enter the correct altimeter setting, which resulted in continued flight below the decision height and a subsequent collision with trees.

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