The pilot reported that while on base leg for his third nighttime landing at the airport in Lompoc, California, the runway lights turned off.
Despite his failed attempts to turn on the runway lights, he completed his base to final turn about 200 feet agl. With the runway lights not illuminated, he decided to use the blue taxiway lights parallel of the runway as his reference to land. While on final approach, the Glastar hit a tree, then hit the ground inverted.
The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and the left wing. The pilot sustained minor injuries.
The pilot reported that there were no mechanical malfunctions or failures to the engine or airframe that would have precluded normal operation.
The pilot did not submit the National Transportation Safety Board Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident/Incident Report Form 6120.1.
Probable Cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain a proper glidepath during a night landing, which resulted in impact with a tree.
This July 2019 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.