Aircraft: Piper Cherokee 6. Injuries: 2 Serious. Location: Bridgeport, Conn. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The purpose of the flight was for the pilot to regain night currency, which had lapsed two weeks before.
The pilot, who was familiar with the airport, said he intended to perform three full stop landings.
According to the pilot, the first takeoff and initial climb out to a left downwind were normal. He reported that there was a slight haze in the vicinity of the airport. While turning to the base leg of the approach, he trimmed the airplane for 90 mph and lowered the flaps to the “first notch.”
The pilot reported he saw “two white lights” on the vertical approach slope indicator, which indicated that he was above the glideslope, so he adjusted the trim to maintain 80 mph and lowered the flaps to the “third notch.” The left wing collided with a 12-foot-tall blast fence, which was located 20 feet from the end of the runway.
After the accident, the pilot stated that the blast fence was indistinguishable from the runway threshold markings. The blast fence was properly marked with red and white checker markings on the interior side and was not required to be lit by FAA facility requirements.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain clearance from a blast fence on final approach to land.
NTSB Identification: ERA11CA365
This June 2011 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.