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N714KL accident description

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Crash location 41.738333°N, 72.650278°W
Nearest city Hartford, CT
41.765933°N, 72.683426°W
2.6 miles away
Tail number N714KL
Accident date 22 Dec 2004
Aircraft type Piper PA-46-350P
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On December 22, 2004, at 1730 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-46-350P, N714KL, was substantially damaged while landing at the Hartford Brainard Airport (HFD), Hartford, Connecticut. The certificated private pilot and passenger were not injured. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local maintenance test flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to the pilot, he was flying the airplane with an avionics mechanic to test new avionics that were recently installed. After completing several approaches at another airport, the pilot elected to return to HFD, and conduct an approach to runway 2. During the final segment of the approach, the pilot felt a "thump" coming from the left wing area. The pilot continued the approach, and landed uneventfully. After parking the airplane, the pilot inspected the left wing and observed "distorted spots in the wing, and a broken position light."

According to the passenger, as the flight approached the airport, the pilot appeared to be flying a "very shallow" approach path to the runway. As the airplane continued to descend, the passenger lost sight of the runway due to the trees that were in front of them. He then heard loud impacts as the airplane struck trees located about 2 miles from the runway threshold.

Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed spar damage to the leading edge of the left wing, and damage to the left landing gear door, the left flap, and the left horizontal stabilizer. The inspector also observed that the left wing outboard recognition light was damaged, and the light fixture cavity contained numerous tree buds.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's failure to maintain adequate clearance from trees during the approach to the runway. A factor related to the accident was the nighttime conditions.

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