NTSB Identification: WPR13FA001
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, October 02, 2012 in Beatty, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/06/2013
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-180, registration: N7895W
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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 pilot reported that a temporary flight restriction (TFR) was in effect for his intended destination airport and that he was unclear on whether the TFR would prevent him from landing at that airport. The TFR stated that transit operations were allowed only if a discrete code was assigned by air traffic control (ATC) before the airplane’s departure. The pilot mistakenly thought he could pick up the discrete code while airborne. Because the pilot was unable to contact ATC at his intended destination during the flight and the airplane was running low on fuel, he diverted to an alternate airport. At the alternate airport, the pilot initiated a straight-in approach to the runway in darkness, over flat, featureless terrain; the pilot reported that the only airport lighting he saw was the airport beacon. During the approach, the airplane struck high tension power lines about 1 mile south of the runway. Further, according to an applicable notice to airmen, the airport that the pilot diverted to was closed when the accident occurred. The pilot most likely flew a lower than desired approach altitude due to the night time conditions and featureless terrain. The pilot reported that there were no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane or engine that would have precluded normal operation.

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

The pilot’s inadequate flight planning, subsequent loss of situational awareness, and failure to maintain clearance from the power lines during a dark night approach to a closed, unlit runway.

Full narrative available

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