ATL04LA087
ATL04LA087

On March 28, 2004, at 0315 central standard time, an Aircraft MFG Alarus CH2T home built airplane, N605AM, registered to Aircraft Manufacturing & Developing Company, operated by Phil's Flying Enterprises, Inc., and flown by a commercial pilot, collided with trees while maneuvering for an approach to Bay Minette Municipal Airport in Bay Minette, Alabama. The flight was operated under the provisions of Title 14, CFR Part 91, and visual flight rules (VFR). Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the flight. The pilot received minor injuries, the passenger received serious injuries, and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The flight originated from Marietta Cobb County - McCollum Airport in Marietta, Georgia, on March 27, 2004 at 2315 eastern standard time.

According to the pilot, he received a weather briefing from the Federal Aviation Administration and stated that the reported conditions were sky clear, unlimited visibility and VFR was recommended en route from McCullum Airport in Marietta, Georgia to Fairhope, Alabama, his intended destination. The pilot said that they departed McCullum Airport at about 2315 and received flight following from Atlanta approach enroute to Fulton County airport in Atlanta, Georgia and arrived at about 2330. The airplane's fuel was topped off with about eight gallons of 100LL aviation fuel bringing the airplane usable fuel level to 26 gallons.

The pilot and passenger departed Fulton County Airport at about 2345 enroute to Fair Hope, Alabama. The pilot stated that he called a friend in Fairhope just prior to departure and the friend reported that the sky was clear and the visibility was unlimited. The pilot stated that the trip to Fairhope was unremarkable. Upon arriving at Fairhope, the pilot noticed that fog had become increasingly worse and that he could not land VFR. The pilot contacted Houston Approach and advised them that he was diverting to Bay Minette Municipal Airport. Upon arrival at Bay Minette, he found the weather conditions similar to Fairhope. The pilot stated that he had used his reserve and had about 20 minutes of fuel remaining. The pilot stated that he made a low approach into Bay Minette and discovered that the fog was extremely dense and at about 150 feet above ground level, the pilot executed a go-around and was now going to attempt the VOR runway 080 approach. He said he made this approach but could only see the Runway End Identifier Lights and executed a second go-around. On his third approach at about 15 feet above ground level, he heard something strike the airplane like a pine tree, he then heard a loud thump on the right side and then suddenly hit the ground and impacted a tree on the left side, damaging both wings, firewall and all three landing gear. The pilot did not report a mechanical problem with the airplane during the flight. .

Weather data was recovered from the nearest observation facility at Mobile Downtown Airport, in Mobile, Alabama, 20 miles northwest of the accident site. The surface weather observation at 0400 was: winds 0000 knots, visibility 1/4 statute mile in fog, overcast 300 feet , temperature 16 degrees Celsius, dew point 16 degrees Celsius and barometric pressure of 30.17 inches of mercury.

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