The pilot reported that, while conducting an instrument landing system (ILS) approach at night in instrument meteorological conditions and while correcting course on the ILS, she saw full right deflection, corrected to the left, and then observed full left deflection on the course direction indicator about the decision altitude. She added that she then heard and felt a loud “bang.” The airplane turned left, she aborted the approach, executed a missed approach, and declared an emergency. She was then vectored to a nearby airport where she landed the airplane without further incident.
The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing. An examination by the Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed pine needles in the damaged section of the left wing.
The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.
The airport’s automated weather observation station reported that, about the time of the accident, the wind was from 220° at 5 knots, visibility 1/4 statute mile, runway visual range 1,800 ft, variable 2,200 ft, cloud condition fog, vertical visibility 200 ft, temperature 21°C (70°F), dew point 21°C (70°F), and altimeter setting 30.01 inches of mercury. The pilot was landing the airplane on runway 24.
Probable cause(s): The pilot’s failure to maintain lateral position in relation to the instrument approach course at night in instrument meteorological conditions, which resulted in collision with a tree.
Note: The report republished here is from the NTSB and is printed verbatim and in its complete form.