The pilot, flying a Grumman Tiger, was attempting to land at the airport in Ankeny, Iowa, in night VFR conditions. He listened to the AWOS and learned the wind was from 220° at 10 knots, gusting to 26 knots. The first attempt to land resulted in a bounce, so he did a go-around.
He came around for a second try, which also resulted in a go-around. On the second go-around, the airplane drifted left of centerline and the left wing hit a tree.
The pilot was able to continue the approach and the third landing was a success.
The pilot told investigators that he had the airplane’s interior lighting turned up and, in hindsight, he thought it might have been too bright for the night conditions and that the bright runway lights in the dark rural setting gave him a “false sense of night vision.”
The NTSB attributed the accident to the pilot’s failure to maintain a proper glide path to the runway in gusty wind conditions and his failure to maintain clearance from obstructions during the subsequent go-around as the cause of the accident. Contributing to the accident was the improper interior lighting configuration.
NTSB Identification: CEN13CA133
This January 2013 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.