This August 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: 1 Serious, 1 Minor. Location: Albuquerque, N.M. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.
What reportedly happened: The field elevation was 5,837 feet MSL but due to weather conditions at the time of the accident the density altitude was 7,618 feet. Winds were reported as calm. The person in the left seat and manipulating the controls was the father of the owner of the Cessna, but was not a licensed pilot. The passenger, who occupied the right front seat of the airplane, was a rated pilot however, he had not flown for over eight years and was not current. He stated that he was not aware that the left-seat pilot was not a rated pilot. Despite several attempts, the non-certificated pilot failed to return a completed NTSB Form 6120.1 to the requesting investigator-in-charge. The pilot reported to the FAA inspector that the airplane was owned by his son and he had accumulated a total of 38 flight hours on the accident airplane.
According to a witness at the airport the airplane was lower than normal on final approach. The right wing hit a pole on final approach and the airplane crashed, coming to rest about 100 feet short of the approach end of the runway.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain proper glide angle during the landing approach, which resulted in a collision with a pole. Contributing to the accident were the pilot’s lack of qualification, experience and the high density altitude.
For more information: NTSB.gov