The pilot made an approach to a remote grass airstrip in Valdez, Alaska, that resulted in the tailwheel-equipped airplane being too low to make the airstrip threshold.
During the touchdown, the main landing gear hit an embankment and collapsed, and the bottom of the fuselage impacted terrain.
The Kirbybilt Aircraft XCalibur sustained substantial damage to the fuselage.
The pilot reported that there were no preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation.
As a safety recommendation, he said he would avoid landing at this particular area until more reconnaissance is conducted, along with additional off airport operations practice.
The FAA has published the Airplane Flying Handbook FAA-H-8083-3A (2004), which discusses a low final approach and states in part: “When it is realized the runway will not be reached unless appropriate action is taken, power must be applied immediately to maintain the airspeed while the pitch attitude is raised to increase lift and stop the descent. When the proper approach path has been intercepted, the correct approach attitude should be reestablished and the power reduced and a stabilized approach maintained.”
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain an adequate glide path during landing, which resulted in the airplane landing short of the airstrip, a landing gear collapse, and subsequent substantial damage to the fuselage.
NTSB Identification: ANC16CA055
This July 2016 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.