FTW00LA123
FTW00LA123

On April 11, 2000, approximately 2200 central daylight time, a Piper PA-32R-301 single-engine airplane, N789CA, impacted trees and terrain while on approach to the Edwards County Airport near Rocksprings, Texas. The airplane was registered to Henjill, Inc., of Wilmington, Delaware, and operated by the pilot. The private pilot and pilot rated passenger were not injured. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces and fire. Dark night visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and an IFR flight plan was filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The cross-country flight departed Beaumont, Texas, about 1930, with a planned destination of El Paso, Texas.

The pilot reported to the NTSB investigator-in-charge (IIC) that he diverted about 15 degrees to the left of course to avoid some weather. As the flight continued toward its destination, "dark night IFR conditions" were encountered. He further reported that he contacted Houston Center and requested directions to the nearest airport. Houston Center directed the flight toward the Sonora Airport, near Sonora, Texas. After encountering moderate turbulence, he again contacted Houston Center and requested directions to a closer airport. Houston Center directed him toward the Edwards County Airport near Rocksprings, Texas.

As the flight neared Rocksprings, the pilot activated the airport's runway lights and set up for a visual approach to runway 14. While on the approach, the pilot lost visual contact with the runway, and elected to perform a go-around. The pilot applied full power, raised the landing gear, and selected 10 degrees of flaps. Subsequently, the airplane struck trees, impacted the ground, and came to a stop against a fence. A postimpact fire consumed the airplane.

At 2153, the reported weather at Kimble County Airport, near Junction, Texas, located 40 nautical miles northeast of the accident site, was scattered clouds at 3,000 feet, ceiling broken at 3,700 feet, visibility 9 statute miles, wind from 340 degrees at 9 knots gusting to 17 knots, temperature of 73 F, dew point 63 F, and altimeter setting of 30.03 inches of Mercury. The NTSB IIC calculated the density altitude at 3,758 feet.

On the enclosed Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1/2), the pilot reported that he had accumulated 880 total flight hours of which 30 hours were at night. In the 90 days prior to the accident, the pilot had flown 60 hours in the accident aircraft of which 5 hours were at night. In the 30 days prior to the accident, the pilot had flown 3 hours at night of which 2 hours were in the previous 24 hours.

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