CHI01LA120
CHI01LA120

On April 22, 2001, at 1100 eastern standard time, a American General Aircraft AG5B, N118VU, piloted by a private pilot, sustained substantial damage during a precautionary landing on runway 34 (2,400 feet by 65 feet, wet/asphalt) at the Fleet Field Airport, Culver, Indiana. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The cross-country flight was operating under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 and was not on a flight plan. The pilot, the sole occupant, reported no injuries. The flight departed the Lawrenceville-Vincennes Airport, Lawrenceville, Illinois, at 0915.

According to the pilot's written statement, the weather conditions were sky clear, with no visibility restrictions, from his departure airport to West Lafayette, Indiana.

The pilot reported, "I really didn't encounter the bad weather until I was around Culver when I started to experience haze. The further north I went the more extensive the cloud coverage. I dropped down to 2500 from 3500 ft to avoid the clouds. When doing so, I started to encounter mist. The mist turned into a light rain so I turned 180[degrees] to head back to clear weather. I noticed to the west and southwest there were gray clouds. I knew Plymouth was close by and I thought may be that I could make it there so I could utilize the longer runway. The mist and light rain continued and started to obscure my vision out of the front of the aircraft. I felt the conditions were getting worse so I called up Flight Watch. Chicago Flight Watch answered and I told him that, "I was a VFR pilot encountering IFR conditions." His instructions to me were, "To land as soon as possible." Being an inexperienced pilot, I took his advice and elected to land at Culver."

The pilot stated, "I made two low passes to check out the airport and surroundings. The surroundings consisted of woods and trees. I didn't see any type of wind direction device until after I was on the ground. Anyways, on my third approach everything was alright. The landing was good and right down the center. However, when I applied the brakes, they locked up and the plane started to slide with some hydroplaning. I didn't have enough room to clear the trees at the end of the runway if I elected to do a go around so I continued with trying to stop the plane. The plane ended up sliding straight off the runway, crashing through a fence, and came to a hault [halt] on the road."

No anomalies were found with the aircraft control systems, including the brake system, which could be associated with any preexisting condition.

A weather observation station, located at the Goshen Municipal Airport, Goshen, Indiana, 32 nautical miles northeast of the Fleet Field Airport, reported the weather as:

Observation Time: 1053 est
Wind: 180-degrees at 6 knots
Visibility: 3 statute miles
Sky Condition: Light Rain
Mist
Scattered 1,700 feet above ground level (agl)
Broken 2,100 feet agl
Broken 7,500 feet agl
Temperature: 19-degrees centigrade
Dew Point Temperature: 18-degrees centigrade
Pressure: 30.22 inches of mercury

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