NTSB Identification: CEN12LA060
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, November 11, 2011 in Eau Claire, WI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/21/2012
Aircraft: CESSNA 180, registration: N3606C
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

During a personal sightseeing flight, the pilot landed the airplane at a controlled airport without contacting the control tower. According to the manager of a fixed base operation at the controlled airport, the pilot asked what airport he had landed at and seemed unsure of the direction toward his intended destination. Although the manager reminded him to do so, the pilot did not contact the control tower during his departure. While en route, it became dark, and the airplane experienced a loss of electrical power, rendering the cockpit "virtually black." Although the sky was clear and the visibility was 10 miles, the pilot was unable to locate a diversion airport after an hour of searching. He elected to land on a road, and the airplane collided with a pole. The pilot reported that he lost directional control during the landing roll. A postaccident examination revealed that the airplane’s battery had a low power state. The pilot reported no mechanical malfunctions other than the loss of electrical power.

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

The pilot’s disorientation during a night flight, which resulted in an off-airport landing, and his inadequate directional control during the landing roll. Contributing to the accident was the loss of the airplane’s electrical system power.

Full narrative available

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