The pilot was completing a cross-country flight from Florida to Wisconsin. He said he got a full night’s sleep before departing on the flight around 11 a.m.
About 3:30 a.m., he was approaching the airport in Clintonville, Wisconsin, for the third and final fuel stop of the trip.
Although the surface observation at the airport indicated that night visual meteorological conditions prevailed, he noticed that, as he approached the airport, the runway and precision approach path indicator (PAPI) lights were partially obscured by ground fog.
About 250′ above ground level on final approach, the PAPI lights indicated that the airplane was below the approach path, and the pilot attempted to correct by applying engine power.
He reported the landing felt normal, then the nose landing gear “gave out,” and the airplane skidded about 300′ down the runway before coming to rest.
Examination of the runway revealed tire skid marks consistent with the airplane touching down about 40′ right of the runway centerline at the beginning of the paved surface.
The Beech A23’s left horizontal stabilizer displayed an indentation and paint transfer consistent with impact with a runway threshold light.
It is possible that the pilot may have lost visual contact with the airport environment due to ground fog as the airplane neared the runway, which resulted in the short and right-of-centerline landing.
Although he said he did not feel tired during the flight, it is likely he was experiencing symptoms of fatigue as a result of his extended time awake prior to the accident.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain the proper glidepath during the night visual approach, which resulted in hitting a runway threshold light, and his improper landing flare, which resulted in a hard landing. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s fatigue.
NTSB Identification: CEN16LA206
This May 2016 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.