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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 26910
Last updated: 22 June 2020
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Type:Silhouette image of generic AC90 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Rockwell Aero Commander 690A
Owner/operator:Thomas F. Reid
Registration: N690TB
C/n / msn: 11109
Fatalities:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:near Bishop, CA -   United States of America
Phase: Landing
Departure airport:Oakland, CA (OAK)
Destination airport:Bishop, CA (BIH)
Investigating agency: NTSB
The pilot entered the left-hand traffic pattern at an uncontrolled airport on a dark moonless night. Witnesses reported observing the airplane in a left descending turn. As the airplane turned onto the base leg, its left bank angle suddenly became steep. The airplane rapidly descended until colliding with level desert terrain 1.63 nm from runway 30's threshold. There were no ground reference lights in the accident site area. An examination of the airplane structure, control systems, engines, and propellers did not reveal any evidence of preimpact malfunctions or failures. Signatures consistent with engine power were found in both the engines and the propellers. The wreckage examination revealed that the airplane descended into the terrain in a left wing and nose low attitude. Fragmentation evidence, consisting of the left navigation light lens and left propeller spinner, was found near the initial point of impact. The wreckage was found principally distributed along a 307- to 310-degree bearing, over a 617-foot-long path. The bearing between the initial point of impact and the runway threshold was 319 degrees. The pilot's total logged experience in the accident airplane was 52 hours, of which only 1.6 hours were at night. The pilot was familiar with the area, but he had made only two nighttime landings within the preceding 90 days. Review of the recorded ATC communications tapes did not reveal any evidence of pilot impairment during voice communications with the pilot.

Probable Cause: The pilot's failure to maintain an appropriate terrain clearance altitude while maneuvering in the traffic pattern due to the sensory and visual illusions created by a lack of ground reference lights and/or terrain conspicuity, and the dark nighttime conditions.



Revision history:

27-Sep-2008 01:00 ASN archive Added
12-Feb-2012 01:22 Gwydd Updated [Aircraft type, Cn, Location, Source]
10-Jul-2013 16:07 wf Updated [Location, Phase, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
21-Dec-2016 19:14 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
21-Dec-2016 19:16 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
21-Dec-2016 19:20 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
09-Dec-2017 17:16 ASN Update Bot Updated [Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]

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