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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: FTW02LA076
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Monday, February 04, 2002 in Hobbs, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/07/2005
Aircraft: Piper PA-31T, registration: N794CA
Injuries: 1 Serious.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

At the conclusion of a dark night IMC cross-country flight, the pilot was being vectored onto the ILS approach. After stabilizing, the approach "was normal." At decision altitude, the pilot indicated that he could see the approach lights and the runway, but was not in a position to land so he executed a missed approach. After being vectored around for another approach, he stated that he was on the localizer but was "high" on the glide slope. After giving "a little" nose down pitch, he became distracted when the auto-pilot became "accidentally disengaged." The pilot stated that he "inadvertently descended through the glide slope and impacted the ground short of the runway." He further stated that the "first indication" that he was low was when the aircraft "struck the ground." The aircraft was destroyed on impact. A facility check conducted by the FAA of the ILS found all parameters within normal specifications.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • the pilot's failure to maintain the proper glidepath during the instrument approach. Contributing factors were the dark night light conditions and the pilot's diverted attention.