NTSB Identification: DFW05FA059.
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Accident occurred Saturday, January 22, 2005 in Brownwood, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/07/2005
Aircraft: Beech BE-36, registration: N1750A
Injuries: 2 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 785-hour instrument rated private pilot was on a night visual approach to the runway without a visual approach glide slope indicator lights when the airplane collided with electrical wires, trees, and the ground . A witness, who was located 2.82 miles south of the accident site, stated that it was dark, the wind was calm, and the sky was clear. He observed the airplane in-flight overhead flying at a "high speed" at an altitude of about 500 feet above the ground (agl). He further reported that he saw the airplane's navigational lights illuminated, and that the airplane's engine sounded "normal" and was "loud." One of the residents went outside, saw flames shooting in the air, and called "911." Local authorities reported that electrical service to nearby residences was interrupted coincident with the accident time. Evidence at the accident site revealed that the airplane initially struck two 40-foot high electrical lines that were perpendicular to the flight path. The electrical lines were found separated and lying on the ground near their support poles. No mechanical anomalies were found that would have contributed to the accident. The NTSB IIC conducted a test to see whether or not the pilot would have been able to see the runway from the point of where the airplane impacted the wires. Several days after the accident, in similar dark night light conditions that prevailed at the time of the accident, a fire ladder truck was utilized to elevate a fireman to the height of the airplane's initial impact with wires. At a height of 40 feet, the runway was found to be clearly visible in the dark night. Several firemen climbed the ladder and stated that when looking straight out toward the runway, they "thought they where about 150-200 feet above the ground." There were no lights between the accident site and the runway, and the terrain sloped down, and then back up to the runway threshold. The sensation was that there appeared to be a "black hole" type of effect when looking straight out from the accident site toward the runway threshold. There was no discernable horizon. A review of the pilot's logbook revealed that the pilot had never been to the accident airport.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilots failure to maintain proper altitude and clearance while on final approach to land. Contributing factors were the pilot's lack of familiarity with the geographic area, the dark night light conditions, the non-availability of a visual approach glide slope light system, and spatial disorientation. Full narrative available
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