Insurance checkout ends in mishap

This May 2010 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: Piper Comanche. Injuries: None. Location: Carrollton, Ga. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The pilot had just purchased a share in the low-wing airplane and was receiving a checkout from a CFI for insurance purposes. The pilot was attempting to land the Piper with a simulated engine failure, but he misjudged the approach and the airplane touched down 90 feet short of the runway. The CFI did not attempt to take control of the aircraft when it became apparent that the pilot would not make it to the runway.

When the airplane’s nose wheel struck the edge of the runway and the nose-gear collapsed, the pilot initiated a go-around. On the second landing attempt and with no nose-wheel, the airplane skidded to a stop. The firewall was substantially damaged.

According to the pilot, the firewall damage was likely sustained as the landing gear crossed the edge of the runway pavement. The pilot also noted that the majority of his flight experience has been in high-wing aircraft, where it is easier to see the main gear and runway.

Probable cause: The pilot’s improper touchdown point during landing. Contributing to the accident was the CFI’s lack of remedial action.

For more information: NTSB Identification: ERA10CA265


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