Pilot’s overconfidence and lack of practice to blame for crash landing

The aircraft with the nose landing gear angles rearwards and the propeller tips bent. Photo courtesy

The aircraft with the nose landing gear angles rearwards and the propeller tips bent. Photo courtesy of Air Accidents Investigation Branch. - Credit: Archant

A pilot blamed overconfidence and lack of practice as contributing factors behind a crash landing at Beccles Airfield.

The 71-year-old, who was flying solo, escaped unharmed while the impact led to the partial collapse of the nose landing gear and bent the propellers of his light aircraft.

In a report from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch covering the crash landing, which occurred on Thursday, March 29, the pilot explained during his first approach to the runway he realised the aircraft was too high so went around again.

While he achieved a better approach angle during his second attempt he was still higher than he should have been and therefore chose to steepen his approach by making a late selection of full flaps.

It is believed this decision increased the speed of descent causing the plane to land heavily and bounce before finally landing nose first.

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The pilot admitted he misjudged both approaches and on the second attempt became overconfident and continued to land rather than going around again.

He also noted that he had not gained any recent practice of recovering from a bounced landing - having flown three hours in the previous 90 days.

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While the pilot had recently flown with an instructor at Southend Airport this facility boasts a larger runway and approach lighting not found at Beccles.

The report concluded in hindsight the pilot should have completed circuits at an airfield with smaller runways, such as Beccles Airfield, while flying with an instructor.

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