During a night approach, the runway precision approach path indicator lights indicated that the Van’s RV-10 was on a proper glidepath, according to the pilot.
Shortly after, the plane encountered a “strong gust of wind” and “lost significant altitude.”
He added engine power and raised the airplane’s nose to intercept the glidepath.
A few seconds later, he felt a slight bump and heard a scraping noise to his right. He looked to the right, and when he returned his focus to the approaching runway, he noticed that the airport lights were no longer lit, and the airport was in “complete darkness.”
He added that he “couldn’t really see anything and wasn’t sure exactly where the runway was, but he knew he was going to have a hard landing.”
He then pulled the power back, moved the mixture to idle cut off, and turned the fuel selector off.
The airplane landed hard off the runway at the airport in Limon, Colorado, bounced, slid sideways, hit a tree, and then came to rest.
The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage, both wings, and empennage.
Following the accident, it was discovered that, during the approach, the airplane struck a power line that supplied the airport power.
According to the FAA inspector assigned to the accident, the power line was estimated to be 75′ above the ground and 1/2 mile from the runway threshold. The power line crossed perpendicular to the runway.
The automated weather observation system at the airport reported that, about the time of the accident, the wind was from 330° at 6 knots. The pilot was on a visual approach for Runway 34.
Probable cause: The pilot’s unstabilized approach and failure to go around at night, which resulted in the airplane hitting a power line and a subsequent hard landing.
NTSB Identification: GAA18CA075
This December 2017 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.