On October 28, 2000, at 0735 mountain daylight time, a Piper PA-34-200T, N238Z, sustained substantial damage when it impacted the ground approximately 800 feet east and 1,000 feet down runway 33 at Fort Collins/Loveland Municipal Airport, Fort Collins, Colorado, during an instrument landing system (ILS) approach. The private certificated, instrument rated, pilot and his passenger were not injured. The flight was operating on an IFR flight plan under Title 14 CFR Part 91 and had departed Colorado Springs, Colorado, at 0645. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident.

According to the automated weather observation service (AWOS), the Fort Collins weather, when the accident occurred, was 100 foot overcast skies with 1/4-mile visibility. The wind was calm and the temperature/dew point was 43/41 degrees Fahrenheit. Fort Collins/Loveland Airport is an uncontrolled airport.

According to the pilot, he had both his strobe lights and landing lights on during the approach and forgot to turn on the pilot activated runway lights. When he was approaching minimum descent altitude, he asked his passenger if she saw any lights. She said she did, and he said he went visual at that point and could not see the ground or runway environment. The pilot continued the descent and the aircraft drifted right of the runway and impacted the ground. The landing gear collapsed and the airplane slid to a stop on the taxiway adjacent to the parking ramp area on the east side of the airport.

The pilot said the visibility had deteriorated to a point that it took several minutes to locate and walk to the fixed base operator facilities (FBO), even though he was familiar with the airport.

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