This April 2008 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.
Aircraft: Cessna 172. Injuries: 2 Fatal. Location: Roseglen, N.D. Aircraft damage: Destroyed. What reportedly happened: The pilot, who had logged 69 hours, was flying on a dark night. There were no witnesses to the accident, but based on the wreckage, investigators determined that the airplane hit a 40-foot television antenna next to a trailer, then hit the ground. The airplane’s right wing struck the antenna about 8 feet from the top. An autopsy revealed the pilot had a blood alcohol level above the legal limit at the time of the crash and was likely impaired. Probable cause: The pilot failed to maintain obstacle clearance from the TV antenna during a low altitude maneuver. Contributing factors were the antenna, the night conditions, and pilot impairment due to alcohol.