NTSB Identification: ERA09CA196
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, March 11, 2009 in Darlington, SC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/11/2009
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28, registration: N82891
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The recently certificated pilot was returning to the airport after a local flight under dark night visual meteorological conditions. To avoid hitting trees, the pilot flew a higher-than-normal final approach to Runway 34, a 3,200-foot-long turf runway with lighting. The pilot landed beyond the normal touchdown zone, and then firmly applied the brakes. The left tire "locked up" and the airplane departed the left side of the runway, where it impacted a tree-lined ditch. The airplane received substantial damage to both wings and the fuselage. Examination of the airplane did not reveal any preimpact mechanical malfunctions, nor did the pilot report any. The reported wind at a nearby airport, about the time of the accident, was from 250 degrees at 5 knots. The pilot reported 83.6 hours of total flight experience, of which 15.1 hours were in the same make and model as the accident airplane and 4.4 hours were at night.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain directional control during the landing roll. Contributing to the accident were the dark night and the pilot's lack of experience.

Full narrative available

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