Failure to check NOTAMs ends with landing at closed airport

This April 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 182.

Location: Marietta, Okla.
Injuries: 2 Minor.
Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The pilot, a 27,500-hour airline transport pilot, was attempting to land on a 2,450 x 55-feet wide turf runway. He told investigators that when he lined up for the straight-in approach, he noticed that the northern half of the runway appeared to have been graded. He failed to notice the large white X on the approach end of the runway.

The airplane’s touchdown and landing roll was normal about 500 to 600 feet down the grass portion. When the Cessna entered the graded area the airplane bounced slightly, slowed, then flipped onto its nose.

The pilot stated that prior to departure he checked the weather and the airport information on on the Internet. He stated that the NOTAM section would not open on the website and he did not check any other sources.

Probable cause: The airplane’s noseover in terrain unsuitable for landing due to the pilot’s failure to obtain current NOTAM information on the closed airport.

For more information:


  1. George Horn says

    Warning: Checking NOTAMS may not provide a pilot with the “Closed” airport information anyway! I have two personal experiences with such matters.
    One: Having asked for NOTAMS during my preflight briefing from FSS, and on an IFR flight plan, and while cleared for the visual approach at night by Navy Kingsville (Approach) I landed at Kingsville TX at night. Runway lights appeared normal until “in the flare” when they seemed to simply disappear. Rolled out, turned off the runway, cancelled IFR with approach, and felt an “un-easy” feeling as I taxied towards a blinding Floodlight on the ramp. No longer able to see the actual pavement due to the blinding floodlight, I shut down the engines and disembarked my passenger to discover…. a 60 X 60-foot hole, 35 feet deep directly in front of my nosegear. The ramp had been excavated to remove underground fuel tanks! NO barricades! No NOTAM! (The airport was indeed closed, neigther FSS, Approach, nor FDC knew about it!) The reason the rwy lights disappeared during flare? High, un-mown grass.
    Second: An official state of TX aircraft landed at Jasper TX suffering damage from a punctured bellyskin due to striking a surveyor’s tripod which had been left on the approach end of the runway. The airport was being re-surveyed. NO NOTAM had been issued by the airport management until ten minutes AFTER the aircraft accident, and then was only for the purpose of CYA. The pilot (and pax) in addition to being exposed to a potentially serious accident and possible injury or death … was engdangered of losing his job by firing for not checking NOTAMS… until it was discovered (by me) that the Notam had only been issued AFTER the event!

  2. Frank Klein says

    My first thought when I read the article was if he had flown a standard traffic pattern this accident probably would not have happened.

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