NTSB Identification: IAD04FA017.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Sunday, April 18, 2004 in North Lima, OH
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/24/2005
Aircraft: Piper PA-24-250, registration: N5369P
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.

The pilot was practicing landings to runway 28. The sun had set, but there was still residual light to the west. The airplane took off, completed a circuit at a low altitude, and just barely cleared trees and wires on the final approach to a landing. As the pilot taxied the airplane back to the approach end of the runway, a witness saw that the cockpit instrument lights were on. The airplane took off again, and flew another circuit at low altitude, then impacted trees as it was turning onto the final approach leg. One area resident heard engine "backfires," while others thought the engine "just didn't sound right," and had an "odd noise," but didn't hear any backfires. Two airline transport pilots, who were watching the airplane from the airport ramp, did not note any engine problems, and an examination of the airplane after the accident also did not reveal any airframe or engine anomalies. The runway had a precision approach path indicator (PAPI), described by one of the airline transport pilots as "brilliant red." The pilot had an eye examination about 6 months prior to the accident. On a questionnaire, he stated "yes" to whether bright lights bothered him, and "yes" to having trouble with night vision.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain a safe altitude clearance from trees. Factors included the night lighting conditions and the pilot's diminished night vision capability.

Full narrative available

Index for Apr2004 | Index of months