ASN logo
ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 133155
Last updated: 18 June 2020
This information is added by users of ASN. Neither ASN nor the Flight Safety Foundation are responsible for the completeness or correctness of this information. If you feel this information is incomplete or incorrect, you can submit corrected information.

Date:02-JUN-1995
Time:23:00
Type:Silhouette image of generic P28A model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Piper PA-28-161
Owner/operator:Thunderbird Aviation
Registration: N8447T
C/n / msn: 28-8216025
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Category:Accident
Location:Valparaiso, IN -   United States of America
Phase: Approach
Nature:Private
Departure airport:FCM
Destination airport:VPZ
Investigating agency: NTSB
Narrative:
On June 2, 1995, at 2300 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-28- 161, N8447T, registered to Thunderbird Aircraft Company and flown by a private instrument rated pilot collided with the terrain during an ILS approach at the Porter County Airport, Valparaiso, Indiana, while on a personal flight. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and an IFR flight plan was filed. The airplane was destroyed. The pilot and two passengers were seriously injured. The flight originated from Eden Prairie, Minnesota, at 1839 cdt.

The pilot stated he received a weather briefing prior to takeoff. He stated he was told there was a chance of light showers in lower Wisconsin and upper Illinois but that his destination of Valparaiso was forecast to be VFR. The pilot stated that in the vicinity of Valparaiso, at an altitude of 5,000 feet mean sea level (msl) the weather was good, but he could not see the ground. He stated that he encountered thick fog while on the ILS 27 approach so he made the missed approach. He stated that during the second approach he saw the "lights" at the same time he reached the outer marker. He stated he does not remember what happened after that point.

The right front seat passenger stated they could not see any lights during the first approach. While turning for the second approach, they started seeing lights, then the accident occurred. According to the Porter County Sheriff's Report, the airplane was flying to the east and traveled over a "well lighted NIPSCO power plant" prior to reaching the field in which it crashed. It is unknown if the lights the pilot and passenger saw were the runway lights or the lights from the power plant.

The pilot received a weather briefing from the Princeton Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS) just prior to the flight. The pilot was informed that near the Illinois/Wisconsin border the weather would begin to deteriorate with light rain and fog in certain areas. The briefer stated that Gary, Indiana, (23 miles northwest of Valparaiso) was reporting two miles visibility with fog.

Upon contacting South Bend Approach control, the controller issued the South Bend (40 miles northeast of Valparaiso) weather to the pilot as "indefinite ceiling one hundred sky obscured visibility is one sixteenth with fog... ." The controller informed the pilot that there was not a weather reporting station at Valparaiso.

The pilot reported he had 10 hours of actual instrument flight time prior to the accident.
PROBABLE CAUSE:THE PILOT'S IMPROPER EXECUTION OF THE ILS APPROACH. FACTORS RELATED TO THE ACCIDENT WERE THE FOG AND THE PILOT'S LACK OF TOTAL FLIGHT TIME IN ACTUAL INSTRUMENT CONDITIONS.

Sources:

NTSB id 20001207X03652


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
21-Dec-2016 19:25 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description