CFI falls asleep on approach

This March 2007 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.

Aircraft: Cessna 150.
Location: LaCrosse, Wis.
Injuries: None.
Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The student pilot and CFI were on final approach at an airport that had large snowbanks around the runway. The approach was normal until the airplane was a half mile from the runway and the student extended the flaps to 40°.

The instructor told investigators that he fell asleep during the approach for about 20 seconds, and when he opened his eyes he realized that they were too low. He did not have time to take the airplane’s controls from the student and the wheels hit a snowbank. The nose landing gear collapsed and the airplane slid to a stop. The flight instructor told investigators that he was tired because he had not slept well the night before the accident.

Probable cause: The student’s failure to maintain the proper glidepath and clearance from terrain and the flight instructor’s delayed remedial action. The flight instructor’s fatigue was a factor.

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  1. Robert Davidson says

    Snow banks in the glidepath, common sense tells me there must be some where else to pile snow. Since it is a common occurrence to be too high on approach especially for new pilots requiring a slip or crab to lower altitude. Why would anyone put temporary obstruction in a flight path. Sorry this is a case of comparable negligence.

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