Power-loss landing results in off pavement landing

Aircraft: Piper Cherokee. Injuries: None. Location: Chehalis, Wash. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The accident happened during a flight review. While performing a simulated engine-out forced landing at a non-controlled airport the pilot did not manage the glide profile in a manner that allowed him to glide all the way to the approach end of the runway.

The airplane touched down in a grassy area about 300 feet short of the runway threshold. At the point of touchdown, the airplane’s stabilator hit a piece of rebar that had been placed in the ground to mark the location of a future airport lighting system component. The rebar was outside of the boundary of the runway safety area.

The CFI who was giving the flight review stated that he did not suggest to the pilot that he add power, because it appeared to him that the grassy area was clear.

Probable cause: The pilot’s inability to correctly manage his glide profile during a simulated engine-out forced landing.

NTSB Identification: WPR12LA087

This January 2012 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. Bart says

    I have two questions. Did the pilot pass the BFR? ( He wouldn’t have for me since he didn’t add power on his own. He’s a licensed pilot, not a student, and the function of the BFR is demonstrate competence.) Is the CFI still a CFI? (He should at the very least have had to do a recertification ride. This was a dumb thing to do!)

    • Dan says

      What do you mean pass. You telling me that if a cfi didn’t like how you do your walk around or anything else that he pulls your cert. I don’t think so.

      • Ray says

        You don’t pass or fail a BFR. Your skills are evaluated by a CFI and then he logs the flight and suggests ways to improve.

  2. Sarah A says

    Is it just me or does the CFI sound a bit reckless for taking a practice forced landing all the way to the ground for an off runway landing ? It might be inside the airport fence but unless it is an area that is routinely used by aircraft who knows what dangers might be present, maybe a small sink hole for the gear to drop into and catch or a nearly invisible piece or rebar ? It might have reenforced the lesson to take it all the way but airplanes are expensive and training potentially dangerous so why go past the point where the pilots capabilities were reviewed. If you are not a glider pilot already I would think the lesson is over when the pilot demonstrates the proper handling of the situation and uses good judgement in selecting a landing site and direction. There is always the possibility that you may not get power back when you want it and that has happened more then once so why press on to low altitude and the risk that comes with it ?

    Just my opinion…

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