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N432FL accident description

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Crash location 38.316945°N, 76.558611°W
Nearest city California, MD
38.300403°N, 76.507454°W
3.0 miles away
Tail number N432FL
Accident date 10 Dec 2015
Aircraft type Piper Pa 28
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

The flight instructor reported that during the student pilot's first night flight, the lesson was to familiarize the student with flying at night, and included takeoffs and landings. The flight instructor reported that during landing, the student pilot held the approach path "for a while" then drifted below the approach path, as indicated by the visual approach slope indicator. The flight instructor told the student that he needed to climb and reestablish the airplane on the approach path.

The flight instructor reported that subsequently he (the instructor) "became confused" and could not determine the airplane's position relative to the runway. The flight instructor reported that he "snapped out of the condition", but the airplane collided with trees and impacted the ground short of the runway before a recovery could be made. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing.

The pilot reported no preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation.

NTSB Probable Cause

The student pilot's descent below the prescribed final approach path at night, and flight instructor's failure to correct the student pilot's descent, which resulted in a collision with trees and impact with the ground.

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