FTW96TA021
FTW96TA021

On October 22, 1995, at 0640 mountain daylight time, a Beech 95, N661T, was substantially damaged during landing at Albuquerque, New Mexico. The commercial pilot and two passengers were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time, and no flight plan was filed for the public use flight being conducted under Title 14 CFR Part 91. The flight originated at Edgewood, New Mexico, approximately 0615.

The following is based on the pilot/operator report. The pilot and passengers were en route to participate in a Civil Air Patrol (CAP) Search and Rescue training exercise in Taos, New Mexico. The pilot departed Moriarty, New Mexico, at 0530, and landed at Sandia Airpark, Edgewood, New Mexico, where two CAP cadets boarded. It then departed for Coronado Airport, Albuquerque, New Mexico, where they were to pick up another CAP member.

As the flight entered the crosswind leg of Coronado Airport's traffic pattern, the pilot attempted to turn on the pilot-controlled runway lights; however, they did not illuminate. He decided to make an approach to see if he could locate the unlit runway. The airplane touched down in the median between the runway and parallel taxiway and struck rought terrain. The left main landing gear collapsed and the airplane skidded across a taxiway and collided with a hangar.

The Civil Air Patrol also investigated this accident and according to its report, the pilot said he had visual contact with the runway throughout the approach and was aligned with the runway centerline. As the airplane was flared for landing, the rear seat occupant saw something moving from right to left across the runway. The pilot turned his head left and rearward and told the passenger that it was probably a coyote.

Civil Air Patrol investigators examined the runway lights master switch and found it to be in the off position. A CAP pilot also flew several approaches the following morning at the approximate time of the accident. Conclusions made during the flight were that "the runway was clearly visible," but that the "floodlights in the hangar area as well as those from the baseball diamonds (to the east of the airport) caused the (pilot's) eyes to adjust, and contact with the landing area was lost in darkness at a height of about 35-40 feet AGL."

One passenger submitted a written statement that corroborated the pilot's original report of events. Accident reports from the Civil Air Patrol and New Mexico State Police are attached.

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