Electrical failure beginning of bad landing

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The pilot reported that, during a night flight, while lowering the flaps for landing, the cockpit lights turned off. He attempted to turn the lights back on to no avail.

He added that the precision approach path indicator (PAPI) lights were off at the airport in Winder, Georgia, and he could not get the runway lights to turn on either.

As he was landing past “the first arrow in front [chevron in the displaced threshold],” he heard a “thump.” He taxied the Piper PA24 to the ramp without further incident.

The passenger, an airframe and powerplant mechanic, reported that, during approach after the cockpit lights went out, he used his flashlight to light up the cockpit.

He was unable to correct the panel lights, but observed that the runway lights were “bright.”

He added that, during the landing, he felt the “bottom drop out” and that the airplane landed hard and bounced.

Post-accident examination revealed that the right horizontal stabilator sustained substantial damage.

The pilot added that he and the passenger went to the beginning of the approach runway and found pieces of broken runway lights. Archived NOTAMs for the date of the accident stated that: RWY 31 PAPI UNUSABLE

Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain an adequate approach path at night after an electrical failure, which resulted in the airplane striking runway lights.

NTSB Identification: GAA19CA016

This October 2018 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.

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