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N5788D accident description

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Crash location 44.329167°N, 84.791666°W
Nearest city Houghton Lake Heights, MI
44.327517°N, 84.774472°W
0.9 miles away
Tail number N5788D
Accident date 02 Jul 2016
Aircraft type Piper PA-22-150
Additional details: None
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NTSB Factual Report

On July 2, 2016, about 1020 eastern daylight time, a Piper model PA-22-150 single-engine airplane, N5788D, was substantially damaged when it collided with a wire fence and terrain while landing at Houghton Lake State Airport, 5Y2, near Houghton Lake Heights, Michigan. The private pilot and 3 passengers sustained minor injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local area flight that departed about 1000.

The pilot reported that the purpose of the accident flight was to provide the passengers with an introductory flight in conjunction with an event hosted by a local chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association. The pilot stated that there were no mechanical issues or anomalies with the airplane during his earlier flight from his base airport to 5Y2. The flight departed runway 34 (2,750 feet by 104 feet, turf), climbed to 2,500 feet mean sea level, and completed a local flight of the Houghton Lake area before entering the traffic pattern for a full-stop landing on runway 34. The pilot reported that while on final approach, as they passed over a tree line, the airplane encountered a downdraft and descended below a normal glide path. As he increased engine power to arrest the airplane's descent the main landing gear collided with a wire fence located near the approach end of the runway. The airplane subsequently landed hard on its nose landing gear, collapsing the nose gear, and skidded to a stop in a nose-down attitude on the runway. The pilot reported that there were no mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. The fuselage, engine firewall, and left wing were substantially damaged during the accident.

The closest aviation weather station was located at Roscommon County Airport (HTL), Houghton Lake, Michigan, about 5.6 miles east of the accident site. At 0953, the HTL automated surface observing system reported: a surface wind from 270 degrees at 5 knots, surface visibility 10 statute miles, clear sky, temperature 19 degrees Celsius, dew point 11 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 30.15 inches of mercury. The weather station's next hourly report, issued at 1053, indicated that the surface wind direction was variable between 230 and 300 degrees at 8 knots.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's delayed reaction to the variable wind condition, which resulted in an excessive descent rate and the airplane's subsequent collision with a wire fence short of the runway.

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