Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Landing Area Undershoot: Piper PA-28-236 Dakota, N2956B, accident occurred November 03, 2018 at Merced Regional Airport (KMCE), California

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Fresno, California

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms


Location: Merced, CA
Accident Number: GAA19CA052
Date & Time: 11/03/2018, 1930 PDT
Registration: N2956B
Aircraft: Piper PA28
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Landing area undershoot
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 


The pilot reported that, during a night currency flight, he flew to an airport with which he was not familiar. He recalled that the approach was normal, and that, during the flare, the airplane collided with three of the runway's medium-intensity approach lighting system runway alignment indicator lights. He then landed the airplane on the runway, and during taxi to parking, the nosewheel tire deflated.

The pilot reported that it had been more than 90 days since his last flight at night.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings and the lower right aft fuselage.

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

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's improper glidepath during a landing at night, which resulted in a collision with approach lights.


Descent/approach/glide path - Not attained/maintained (Cause)

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)

Environmental issues
Dark - Effect on personnel (Cause)
Runway/taxi/approach light - Effect on operation (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 48, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 10/26/2018
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 07/09/2017
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 253 hours (Total, all aircraft), 251 hours (Total, this make and model), 288 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 10 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N2956B
Model/Series: PA28 236
Aircraft Category:Airplane 
Year of Manufacture:1979 
Amateur Built:No 
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 28-7911270
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 09/01/2018, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3000 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 2999.82 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91  installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-540-J3A5D
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 235 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: KMCE, 152 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 0253 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 69°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Calm /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 30.03 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 17°C / 7°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Lincoln, CA (LHM)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Merced, CA (MCE)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1810 PDT
Type of Airspace: Class E

Airport Information

Airport: Merced Rgnl/Macready Field (MCE)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 155 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 30
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 5914 ft / 150 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop; Traffic Pattern

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: 37.284722, -120.513889 (est)

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