Fast approach, bad landing

Aircraft: Cessna Cardinal. Injuries: None. Location: Honesdale, Penn. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The pilot had the airplane configured for landing with 30° of flaps. The asphalt runway measured 2,420 foot.

Normal airspeed for landing is 70 mph, but the Cardinal was indicating 85 to 90 mph.

After touchdown, the pilot realized there was insufficient runway remaining to bring the airplane to a stop. He added power and raised the flaps for a go-around, but the plane did not have enough altitude to clear trees at the end of the runway.

Probable cause: The pilot’s excessive airspeed during final approach and his delayed decision to abort the landing, resulting in an in-flight collision with trees during the go-around.

NTSB Identification: ERA12CA020

This October 2011 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.


  1. Steve R says

    No matter what he is used to, this amount of excessive speed is unacceptable. If you are not consistantly using the recommended approach speeds and planning touchdowns at the same point (read as near the numbers on most runways regardless of length) every time, you are setting yourself up for things like this pilot experienced. Cardinals are easily landed at airports of the length he was using if proper technique is used.

  2. says

    The decision point (altitude/airspeed) or “in the slot” for a short (relatively) for a low time pilot or one not accustomed to runways of this length, should be at LEAST a 1/2 mile final. and no “closer in”.
    Simply, if the appropriate “numbers” (altitude/airspeed) 65 knts/70 mph, have NOT been attained, a GO-AROUND should be executed. I would bet “dollars to donuts” this aviator was accustomed to airports or his home base with runway lengths exceeding 4,000ft+!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *