NTSB Identification: CEN12LA197
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, March 21, 2012 in Pinconning, MI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/09/2012
Aircraft: Piper PA-22-150, registration: N2389P
Injuries: 1 Serious.
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 pilot reported that after turning onto final approach, he encountered an "intense glare" from the setting sun in the west, which obscured his view of the runway and the threshold markers. He stated that after he had verified that the airplane was properly aligned with the runway, there was insufficient runway remaining to make a safe landing. He performed a go-around and reentered the traffic pattern. During the go-around he put on his sunglasses and installed a windshield sun-screen in an attempt to reduce the sun glare. He reported that although the glare was reduced during his second landing approach, he still could not identify the runway or the threshold markers. He aligned the airplane with what he thought was the runway and continued to descend until he unexpectedly saw trees ahead of the airplane's flight path. He immediately applied full engine power, but the airplane impacted the trees and then the ground. The pilot noted that there were no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation of the airplane.
Global positioning system position data, obtained from a handheld device found in the main wreckage, confirmed that the pilot had made two approaches to runway 27. The first approach was roughly aligned with the northern edge of the runway. The second approach was aligned about 300 feet north of the runway. The pilot's account of the accident, the recorded flight track data, and the physical evidence found at the accident site is consistent with the airplane being misaligned with the runway during final approach. Astronomical data confirmed that the sun was setting at the time of the accident and would have contributed to the pilot's inability to correctly identify the runway.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's failure to properly align his airplane with the runway during final approach. Contributing to the accident was the sunglare that obscured the pilot's view of the runway. Full narrative available
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