With Wrong Radio Frequency Pilot Lands on Hangar

The pilot of Beechcraft V35B aircraft reported his intention to land. It was night time and the pilot misjudged the hangar light for runway lights.


The aircraft hit the trees on the final approach before it came to rest on the ground, inverted. This accident happened at airport Wetumpka, Alabama.

Later on the pilot said that he was not on the right radio frequency when he tried to turn on the pilot-activated runway lights.

Where was his attention?

Upon examination from an FAA inspector it was reported that substantial damage happened to the aircraft.

According to the pilot, he did not felt any mechanical problem in the aircraft during the final approach or just before the accident. No problem was found with the runway lights either and they were in normal working conditions after the accident.

Probable cause: The pilot used the wrong radio frequency when he tried to turn the runway lights on. T resulted in the aircraft getting aligned up with the airport hangar lights in an attempt to land.

NTSB Identification ERA15CA176

This accident report was published on the website of National Transportation Safety Board. This article has been written for educational purpose and to make fellow aviators aware of what problems can happen in flying.

My viewpoint:

This accident highlights the ignorance of the pilot and that he was not completely attentive while flying.

Having dialed the wrong radio frequency is the first indication for lack of attention.

Inability to differentiate runway lights with that of hangar lights not only brings to light the ignorance of the pilot but also his lack of attention.

When we do routine work we tend to be less attentive to what we are doing. Dialing in the radio frequency is normal routine work for a pilot and at times we are less attentive when we perform such activities.

This is a problem associated more with basic human nature and less with piloting skills. It is a problem which can be seen in experienced pilots as well.


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