Night flight goes awry

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The pilot reported that, during a night currency flight, he flew to the airport in Merced, California, which he was not familiar with.

He recalled that the approach was normal and that, during the flare, the Piper PA-28 hit three of the runway’s medium-intensity approach lighting system runway alignment indicator lights.

He then landed on the runway, and during taxi to parking, the nosewheel tire deflated.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings and the lower right aft fuselage.

The pilot reported that it had been more than 90 days since his last flight at night.

He added that there were no mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

Probable cause: The pilot’s improper glidepath during a landing at night, which resulted in a collision with approach lights.

NTSB Identification: GAA19CA052

This November 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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