On March 27, 2000, at 1023 Alaska standard time, a Piper PA-32R airplane, N8540F, sustained substantial damage during landing at the Fairbanks International Airport, Fairbanks, Alaska. The airplane was being operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) scheduled flight under Title 14, CFR Part 135, when the accident occurred. The airplane was operated as Flight 502 by Servant Air Inc., Fairbanks, Alaska. The commercial certificated pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed. A VFR flight plan was filed. The flight originated at the Fairbanks Airport at 1008.

During a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC), on March 28, 2000, the pilot reported he obtained a Special VFR clearance and departed for Beaver, Alaska, the first stop on his flight. He said the sky condition worsened, becoming more obscured and indefinite. He decided to return to Fairbanks, and obtained a Special VFR clearance back to the airport. He was cleared to land on runway 19L, which does not have a visual approach slope indicator (VASI). During the landing approach, the pilot said he could see the approach end of the runway, but the lighting conditions were very flat. He said he began to lose depth perception, and visual details of the airport. The airplane collided with snow-covered terrain, about 25 yards short of the approach end of runway 19L. The landing gear was sheared off, and the airplane received damage to the engine cowling, belly structure, and wing spars.

At 1034, a special weather report at Fairbanks was reporting, in part: Wind, 240 degrees (true) at 7 knots; visibility, 2 1/2 statute miles in light snow; clouds and sky condition, 3,500 feet overcast; temperature, 8 degrees F; dew point, 6 degrees F; altimeter, 29.35 inHg; remarks, tower visibility 3 miles.

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