On December 31, 1998, at 1830 central standard time, a Cessna 177 airplane, N30246, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain during the final approach to the McGehee Catfish Restaurant Airport, near Marietta, Oklahoma. The non-instrument rated private pilot, who was the owner and operator of the airplane, and his three passengers, sustained minor injuries. Dark night visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the Title 14 CFR Part 91 flight, for which no flight plan was filed. The personal flight originated from the Bowie Municipal Airport, Bowie, Texas, at 1800.

The 107 hour pilot reported in the enclosed Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1/2) that he flew over the airport at 3,500 feet and then at 150 feet, to verify that the 2,450 foot turf runway was free of obstructions. He noted no obstructions and committed to land. The pilot maneuvered the airplane onto the final approach for runway 35, and noted that all of the runway lights were visible and he did not see any obstructions. The pilot stated, "As I was approaching the end of the runway the green end of runway lights were just beginning to disappear beneath the nose of the aircraft." The airplane was 25 feet above ground level when the pilot observed a tree "in front of and to the left" of the approach path. The pilot applied power to execute a go-around; however, the airplane's left wing contacted tree branches. The airplane began to turn left and then impacted the runway. The airplane slid approximately 75 feet and came to rest upright, on a north westerly heading.

The pilot and two of the passengers reported that at the time of the accident, it was cold, clear, and "dark night" light conditions. Additionally, 18 minutes after the accident occurred, a weather observation facility, located 15 miles north of the accident site, reported winds from 040 degrees at 10 knots

The remarks section of the entry in the Airport/Facilities Directory for the McGehee Catfish Restaurant Airport states: Runway 35 Trees; When landing at night, trees off both runway ends.

The pilot stated that the accident may have been prevented if the "airport was better maintained by clearing trees from the end of the runway or moving the end runway lights on the south end further north, away from the trees."

An FAA inspector examined the airplane and stated that the engine firewall was displaced. The fuselage sustained structural damage and the left inboard section of the left wing flap was bent upwards 90 degrees. The leading edge of the left wing sustained structural damage. Additionally, the airplane was not equipped with shoulder harnesses for any of the occupants.

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