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N3024Z accident description

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Crash location 39.008333°N, 74.908056°W
Nearest city Wildwood, NJ
38.991780°N, 74.814889°W
5.1 miles away
Tail number N3024Z
Accident date 31 May 2008
Aircraft type Piper PA-28-161
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

According to the pilot of the PA-28-161, he was making a straight-in visual approach on a "very dark" night. The approach was to runway 19, a 4,998-foot long, 150-foot wide, asphalt runway. He reported that the precision approach path indicator (PAPI) showed "glide good with two white and two red," and the altimeter indicated 1,000 feet mean sea level (msl) when he was approximately 2 miles north of the airport. The pilot did not reference the altimeter or PAPI again, and did not turn on the landing light. The runway was equipped with high intensity runway edge lights, which the pilot activated. About 1/2 mile from the airport, he said that he could see car headlights on the road just before the airport fence. Upon hearing a "loud bang" and feeling an impact with trees on the right wing, the pilot applied full power, pulled back on the yoke, and the airplane rolled right. He was able to climb the airplane and achieve wings-level flight with the application of full left aileron. He flew a traffic pattern and returned to land with "heavy left aileron and rudder." Inspection of the airplane after landing revealed that the right wing had sustained substantial damage.

Reported weather at the airport about the time of the accident included a broken ceiling at 400 feet, wind 190 at 11 knots, gusting to 16 knots, and an altimeter setting of 29.82 inches of mercury.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's failure to maintain clearance from trees during approach. Contributing to the accident were the dark night conditions.

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