NTSB Identification: DFW08LA001
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, October 04, 2007 in Denton, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/24/2008
Aircraft: Indus T211 Thorpedo, registration: N211LS
Injuries: 1 Serious,1 Minor.

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 certificated sport pilot was on a local flight when he noticed that daylight was quickly fading. The pilot immediately elected to initiate a return flight. During the return flight, the pilot became disoriented instead of heading eastbound; he proceeded to follow a highway in a northbound direction. The pilot never saw the city skyline and continued northbound. When the pilot observed a lake thinking it was the one just south of his destination airport, he reported to the control tower that he was over the spillway and entering downwind. However, the flight was actually entering the traffic pattern at a different airport; 31.1 nautical miles north of his intended destination. The pilot turned base leg, overflew the final approach, and then executed a right 270-degree turn for another approach. At this point, the pilot became aware he was at a different airport, but had to land somewhere due to darkness. The pilot avoided the runway approach lights, but flew into the trees short of the runway. The end of civil twilight and beginning of night for this date was 1934 CDT.

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

The pilot's improper preflight planning and preparation which led to his getting lost on a local area flight and his failure to maintain clearance from the trees. Contributing to the accident were the prevailing dark night illumination and the pilot's lack of night flight experience.

Full narrative available

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