Thursday, January 11, 2018

Pulsar 912XP, N912GR: Accident occurred December 02, 2017 near Olson Airport (LL53), Plato Center, Kane County, Illinois

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; DuPage, Illinois

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Plato Center, IL
Accident Number: GAA18CA069
Date & Time: 12/02/2017, 1650 CST
Registration: N912GR
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Controlled flight into terr/obj (CFIT)
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 


The pilot reported that, while making a straight-in approach to a private airport just after dusk, but before dark, he attempted to activate the pilot controlled lighting (PCL), but was unsuccessful. He added that he continued toward the airport, and while maneuvering for landing he lost sight of the airport. The pilot did not regain visual reference of the airport during the landing descent, and the airplane impacted a fence adjacent to the runway.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

The airport owner reported that the PCL antenna requires line-of-sight with the aircraft to operate the PCL system. Presently, due to the antenna's position and hangars on the airport, the antenna does not receive signals from the southeast, the direction from which the accident airplane was approaching. He added that, since the airport was private, he could not issue Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs) to describe the operation of the runway lights. 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's decision to continue to land without visual reference to the airport in low light conditions. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's inability to activate the private airport's pilot-controlled lighting system due to its configuration. 


Personnel issues
Geographic disorient (lost) - Pilot (Cause)
Decision making/judgment - Pilot (Cause)

Environmental issues
Runway lighting - Effect on operation (Factor)
Low light - Effect on personnel
Tree(s) - Contributed to outcome

Factual Information

History of Flight

Loss of visual reference

Approach-VFR pattern final

Controlled flight into terr/obj (CFIT) (Defining event)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 74, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 09/12/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 08/08/2017
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 540 hours (Total, all aircraft), 490 hours (Total, this make and model), 500 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 4 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 3.5 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: WEAVER DAVID A
Registration: N912GR
Model/Series: PULSAR   912XP NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1995
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 329
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 10/30/2017, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1060 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 542 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: ROTAX
ELT: C91A installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: 912UL
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 80 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation: KDPA, 754 ft msl
Observation Time: 2252 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 11 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 121°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 8°C / 1°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  8 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction:  3 knots, 200°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.07 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: LAWRENCEVILLE, IL (LWV)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination:  Plato Center, IL (LL53)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1530 CST
Type of Airspace: Class G 

Airport Information

Airport:  OLSON (LL53)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 963 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry; Rough
Runway Used: SW
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 2400 ft / 70 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop; Straight-in 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude:  42.007778, -88.456944 (est)

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