Aircraft: Cessna 172. Injuries: 2 Minor. Location: Roanoke, Texas. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The student pilot, who was returning from a solo cross-country flight, stated that the approach for landing at the private airport was normal until short final, when the landing gear struck an automobile that was being driven on a road that crossed near the approach end of the runway.
The airplane landed hard and the nose and left main landing gear collapsed. The airplane veered off the right side of the runway before coming to rest in the grass.
The displaced threshold for the landing runway was about 140 feet from the approach end of the runway. The road that crossed the extended runway centerline was about 25 feet from the approach end of the runway pavement, about 165 feet from the displaced threshold. Data indicated that the runway threshold was previously displaced 400 feet.
Although the privately-owned airport was not required to maintain airport design standards established by the FAA, the proximity of the road and the reduced runway threshold displacement did not provide any safety margin for approaching aircraft.
The driver of the car reported that he had been to the airport before and was aware of the proximity of the road to the runway, describing the layout as “precarious.” He noted that he did not see or hear the approaching airplane traffic before the accident.
He said he was about halfway across the road, immediately north of the runway, when he first heard the airplane engine then the airplane hit his car immediately afterward.
Probable cause: The student pilot’s failure to maintain clearance from obstacles on the runway approach path. Contributing to the accident was the airport management’s decision to relocate the runway displaced threshold, which did not provide an adequate safety margin for approaching aircraft, and the automobile driver’s inadequate lookout for approaching aircraft before crossing the runway’s approach path.
NTSB Identification: CEN13LA041
This November 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.