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N203AB accident description

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Crash location 36.873334°N, 116.790277°W
Nearest city Beatty, NV
36.908557°N, 116.759226°W
3.0 miles away
Tail number N203AB
Accident date 21 Sep 2007
Aircraft type Socata TB20
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On September 21, 2007, about 1930 Pacific daylight time, a Socata TB20, N203AB, collided with terrain during a go-around at Beatty Airport, Beatty, Nevada. The pilot, who was also the registered owner of the airplane, was operating it under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The private pilot and passenger sustained serious injuries. The airplane was substantially damaged. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The airplane departed from Derby Field Airport, Lovelock, Nevada, about 1800.

The pilot reported in a written statement that he decided to land at Beatty due to deteriorating weather at his destination. During the approach to runway 34, about 400 to 500 feet above ground level, it appeared to him that the airplane was high, so he initiated a go-around. The pilot applied full throttle, retracted the flaps one notch, and retracted the landing gear. Without warning, the airplane impacted the ground on the downwind leg. After evacuating the airplane he observed the landing gear in the down position.

The pilot reported 242 hours total flight time, with 10.6 hours over the last 24 hours. He reported 8.0 total night hours. The pilot had flown 1.6 hours at night in the last 90 days and 0.8-hour at night in the last 30 days.

The passenger, also a pilot, reported approximately 3,500 hours total flight time. He was not familiar with the accident airplane as the majority of his time was in high-wing Cessna airplanes. During the flight, the passenger assisted the pilot with navigation but did not fly the airplane.

The passenger reported that while en route, they encountered weather and decided to land at Beatty. The weather conditions at the time were clear at Beatty, but it was dark. The passenger stated that the pilot aligned the airplane for the approach to runway 34, but he thought the airplane was too high and was descending too quickly, at a rate of 1,200 feet per minute. As the airplane crossed the threshold, he told the pilot that he should perform a go-around. The pilot applied full power and turned crosswind, then turned onto the downwind leg. Shortly thereafter, the left wing clipped the ground and the airplane cartwheeled. The passenger reported that he was knocked unconscious during the collision sequence, but prior to ground impact, he did not hear any stall warnings or feel a buffet. He could not recall if the pilot retracted the landing gear and/or flaps, and he thought that the pilot might not have arrested his descent, prior to initiating the go-around and making turns in the traffic pattern. He did not believe that there were any mechanical anomalies that resulted in a loss of control.

During the on-site documentation, the first identified piece of wreckage was the left wing tip. A 500-foot distance separated the wing tip and the main wreckage. Both wings were sheared from the structure and in pieces leading up to the main wreckage. The landing gear was in the extended position.

According to aircraft recovery personnel, the cockpit flap indicator showed that the flaps were in the fully retracted position. The landing gear selector handle was in the extended position.

The Pilot Operating Handbook for the airplane indicates under Normal Procedures, Section 4, that during a go-around, smoothly apply power and obtain/maintain 76 to 81 knots indicated airspeed (KIAS). Then, once the climb rate is positive, retract the landing gear and set the flaps to the takeoff setting. Once 90 KIAS is reached, fully retract the flaps and climb at 95 KIAS.

According to the United States Naval Observatory records for Las Vegas, Nevada, on September 21, 2007, sunset was at 1839 and the end of civil twilight was at 1905.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's failure to follow the manufacturer's procedures during a go-around and subsequent loss of airplane control. A contributing factor to the accident was the dark night.

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