NTSB Identification: IAD02FA043.
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Accident occurred Friday, April 12, 2002 in OXFORD, CT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/08/2003
Aircraft: Piper PA-34-200T, registration: N82284
Injuries: 1 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.
After obtaining weather information, the pilot departed on a long cross country flight at night in instrument meteorological conditions. Approximately 2 hours after departure, the pilot was vectored by air traffic control (ATC) to intercept the localizer for the ILS RWY 36 approach at his destination airport. The pilot acknowledged that he had intercepted the localizer, and was cleared for the approach. Subsequently, ATC terminated radar services and approved a change in radio frequency. The pilot acknowledged the instructions, and there were no further communications with him. Data extracted from a handheld GPS unit revealed that during the last 4 minutes of the flight, the airplane made a series of left and right hand turns in the vicinity of the localizer course as it descended towards the airport. However, it was never established on the localizer course. The last recorded position calculated by the GPS occurred at 2118, was at an altitude of 779 feet msl, about 2,000 feet southeast of runway 36. The published decision altitude for the approach was 972 feet msl. A witness said that the airplane flew very low over her home, and sounded like "a motorcycle going full throttle...at a steady constant rate." Another witness said that the airplane flew over his home about 40-50 feet above the trees with the engines "running correctly." He then observed the airplane's landing lights illuminate the tree tops, then the woods, before it collided with terrain. Weather at the time of the accident included wind from 200 degrees at 6 knots gusting to 15 knots, visibility 2 statute miles, ceiling 300 feet overcast, temperature 52 degrees F, and dewpoint 51 degrees F.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's failure to follow the published instrument approach procedure. Factors were the night and low ceiling conditions. Full narrative available
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