LAX98LA020
LAX98LA020

On October 24, 1997, at 0250 hours Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 170B, N3155A, collided with the runway while landing at Tiger Field in Fernley, Nevada. The aircraft sustained substantial damage; however, the pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. The aircraft was being operated as a personal flight by its pilot/owner when the accident occurred. The flight originated in North Las Vegas, Nevada, at 2330 on October 23. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the accident site and no flight plan was filed. The moon was 21.1 degrees above a level horizon with 38 percent illumination.

The pilot was making an approach to unlighted airport. He reported that at the time of the approach the sky was clear. At 800 feet agl he was able to maintain reference to surrounding terrain; however, at 50 to 100 feet agl the lights from the town of Fernley washed out all ground references. He abandoned the approach to runway 15, made a go-around, and set up an approach to runway 33.

While on short final to runway 33, his landing light began reflecting off an airborne mist, so he switched it off. He still had visual contact with terrain and elected to continue the approach. As he began to flare, he lost all outside visual references. He attempted another go-around but during the procedure, the right wing struck the runway. The aircraft rebounded and then the left wing struck the runway. The aircraft then pitched down, settled, and slid to a stop on the runway. The pilot was able to exit the aircraft through the cabin door without difficulty.

The pilot reported that the airport is located in a valley that is below the level of the surrounding terrain. There is no instrument approach associated with the airport.

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