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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: DEN04TA088
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Wednesday, June 09, 2004 in Las Cruces, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/29/2004
Aircraft: Cessna C172P, registration: N9474L
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor.

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

Shortly after takeoff, the low voltage light illuminated and the pilot elected to return to land. The pilot transmitted on the Unicom frequency that he was "turning base to final for runway 26" when in fact he was turning base to final for runway 22. The pilot of another airplane heard this report and elected to take off on runway 22. The pilot of the accident airplane sighted the other aircraft on the runway and elected to make a 360-degree turn for spacing purposes. During the turn, the airplane struck large mesquite bushes and was destroyed when it collided with terrain. Prior to the flight, the pilot performed three takeoffs and landings to a full stop to renew his night flight currency for the carriage of passengers. His last night flight was on September 1, 2003. According to the pilot, he had flown 6.9 hours on the day of the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • the pilot's failure to maintain clearance from terrain and the improper go-around procedure. Contributing factors include the pilot's diverted attention, improper in-flight planning and decision making, pilot fatigue, the night conditions and the mesquite bushes.