NTSB Identification: CHI04LA052.
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Accident occurred Friday, January 02, 2004 in Fishers, IN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/29/2004
Aircraft: Piper PA-32RT-300, registration: N21992
Injuries: 4 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.

The airplane sustained substantial damage on impact with trees during a circling instrument approach. The pilot stated, "Descended to 1340 msl [mean sea level] and continued to 20 DME but did not clear clouds. Descended to 1100 msl and broke through at south end of runway. Remained clear of clouds and entered left, downwind circling approach to rwy [runway] 15 and proceeded with circling north entry. Clipped uppermost small branches of a tree with left wing in the middle of the turn, pulled aircraft higher for clearance and continued approx 1/4 to 1/2 mile to land on rwy 15 without further incident." Weather was: Wind 190 degrees at 12 knots, gusting to 17 knots; 3 statute miles visibility; present weather mist; sky condition overcast 300 feet above ground level; altimeter 29.87 inches of mercury. Remarks rain began at 1416 and rain ended at 1428. According to the published instrument approach procedure the circling minimum descent altitude was 1,340 feet msl and its weather minima was 1 statute mile visibility.

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

The pilot not maintaining altitude/clearance from the trees during the circling approach, his continued descent below minimum descent altitude, and the pilot not performing a missed approach. A factor was the trees the pilot impacted during the circling approach.

Full narrative available

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