Aircraft: Cessna 172. Injuries: 1 Serious. Location: Clarendon, Texas. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The pilot was attempting to land at night. He saw the airport’s rotating beacon but was unable to activate the runway lights.
He maneuvered the plane onto the downwind leg of the traffic pattern, extended the flaps and reduced engine power. The plane was two and a half miles from the airport when it pancaked into the ground.
The pilot told investigators that he was at 900 feet AGL when the airplane hit the ground. The terrain was approximately 2,800 feet MSL. At the accident site, the altimeter read 7,500 feet MSL. Had it been set correctly, when the aircraft was 900 feet AGL the altimeter would have read 3,700 feet MSL.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to correctly set the altimeter, which resulted in his erroneous perception that the airplane was at a safe altitude.
NTSB Identification: CEN11LA153