NTSB Identification: ERA11FA070
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, November 23, 2010 in Destin, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/17/2011
Aircraft: PIPER PA 46-350P, registration: N548C
Injuries: 3 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 instrument-rated pilot was executing a night instrument approach when the airplane impacted the water. The published approach minimums for the area navigation/global positioning system approach were 460-foot ceiling and one-mile visibility. Recorded air traffic control voice and radar data indicated that prior to the approach the pilot had turned to an approximately 180-degree heading and appeared to be heading in the direction of another airport. The controller reassigned the pilot a heading in order to intercept the final approach. The airplane was located in the water approximately 5,000 feet from the runway threshold. A postaccident examination of the airplane revealed that the left main landing gear was in the retracted position and the right main and nose landing gear were in the extended position. Examination of the left main landing gear actuator revealed no mechanical anomalies. The pilot had likely just commanded the landing gear to the down position and the landing gear was in transit. It is further possible that, as the gear was in transit, the airplane impacted the water in a left-wing and nose-down attitude and the left gear was forced to a gear-up position.

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

Controlled flight into water due to the pilot's improper descent below the published minimum descent altitude.

Full narrative available

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