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N794CA accident description

New Mexico map... New Mexico list
Crash location 32.687500°N, 103.216945°W
Nearest city Hobbs, NM
32.702612°N, 103.136040°W
4.8 miles away
Tail number N794CA
Accident date 04 Feb 2002
Aircraft type Piper PA-31T
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On February 4, 2002, at 1907 mountain daylight time, a Piper PA-31T twin-engine airplane, N794CA, was destroyed when it impacted terrain during an Instrument Landing System (ILS) approach to runway 3 at the Lea County Municipal Airport, Hobbs, New Mexico. The commercial pilot, who was the sole occupant, sustained serious injuries. Dark night instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and an Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) flight plan was filed for the Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The cross-country flight originated from Las Vegas, Nevada, at 1700.

In a telephone interview with the NTSB investigator-in-charge, the pilot stated that he was being vectored onto the ILS runway 3 at Hobbs by Fort Worth Center (FTW ARTCC). After stabilizing, the approach "was normal." At decision altitude, he indicated that he could see the approach lights and the runway, but was not in a position to land so he executed a missed approach. After being vectored around for another approach, he stated that he was on the localizer but was "high" on the glide slope. After giving "a little" nose down pitch, he became distracted when the auto-pilot became "accidentally disengaged." The pilot stated that he "inadvertently descended through the glide slope and impacted the ground short of the runway." He further stated that the "first indication" that he was low was when the aircraft "struck the ground." The aircraft was destroyed on impact.

The FAA conducted a facility check of the ILS runway 3 approach on February 6, 2002. All parameters were found within normal specifications.

NTSB Probable Cause

the pilot's failure to maintain the proper glidepath during the instrument approach. Contributing factors were the dark night light conditions and the pilot's diverted attention.

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