NTSB Prelim: Cessna 172 (A1); Aero Commander 500 (A2)

A Cessna 172 Was Substantially Damaged When It Collided With An Aero Commander 500 While Landing

Location: Atlanta, GA Accident Number: ERA21LA056
Date & Time: November 25, 2020, 00:09 Local Registration: N8125U (A1); N777CM (A2)
Aircraft: Cessna 172 (A1); Aero Commander 500 (A2) Injuries: 1 None (A1); 1 None (A2)
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal (A1); Part 135: Air taxi & commuter – Nonscheduled (A2)

On November 25, 2020, at 0009 eastern standard time, a Cessna 172, N8125U, was substantially damaged when it collided with an Aero Commander 500, N777CM, while landing at Dekalb-Peachtree Airport (PDK), Atlanta, Georgia. The Aero Commander sustained minor damage. The pilots of both airplanes were not injured. The Cessna was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight. The Aero Commander was operated as a Title 14 CFR Part 135 flight.

According to the pilot of the Cessna, PDK was his home airport. While en route, he deviated around some fog, which delayed his planned arrival time until after the control tower had closed. Upon arrival near PDK, he listened to the airport terminal information service (ATIS) recording and recalled that he “wrote down the radio channels and headed in, thinking how much (he) hated being without air traffic control.” As he neared the airport, he activated the pilot-controlled lighting, and the runway lights “lit up.” He saw green lights at the approach end of what he believed to be runway 21R, and stated that these lights indicated the direction he was supposed to land on the active runway. He then “switched radio channels” and made “routine calls.” He did not hear any radio transmissions advising of other traffic operating at or near PDK. He recalled that the airplane’s landing lights and navigation lights were on while on approach. During landing, at an altitude of about 10-15 ft above the runway, about 200 ft past the runway numbers, and at a speed of about 65 knots, he saw a “tiny white light approaching extremely fast.” About 3 seconds later, he heard a “bang” and the “plane pitched hard to starboard.” He maneuvered the airplane back to the runway centerline and landed. He stated that he exited the runway at taxiway F, did not make any further radio calls, and taxied to his parking spot. An airport security guard then informed him that he had collided with another

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