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N231KA accident description

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Crash location 39.076945°N, 76.828056°W
Nearest city Laurel, MD
39.099275°N, 76.848306°W
1.9 miles away
Tail number N231KA
Accident date 16 Mar 2015
Aircraft type Mooney Aircraft CORP. M20K
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

The pilot stated that he was aware that the Low Intensity Runway Lights (LIRL) at his departure airport were not operational when he departed on a local flight. When the pilot returned to the departure airport later that night, he attempted to operate the LIRL, but only one side of the runway edge lights activated. The pilot conducted a low approach to see which lights were working and then executed a go-around. On the second approach, the pilot planned to conduct another low approach to see if he could identify the runway paint markings. If the pilot saw the paint markings, he planned to continue the low approach into a landing. During the second low approach, the airplane collided with a structure that was used as a precision approach path indicator. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and both wings. The pilot did not report any anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. A review of the airport facility directory revealed that the LIRL lights were listed as inoperative indefinitely but also listed to activate LIRL with common traffic advisory frequency.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's improper decision to attempt a nighttime landing at an unsuitable airport, which resulted in a collision with the precision approach path indicator.

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