The private pilot, who was the owner of the Piper PA-28, was landing at the airport in Ray, Michigan, following a local flight.
Witnesses reported that the airplane made several landing attempts, but, each time, the airplane was too fast or too high to land.
On the last attempt, the airplane touched down hard and fast about halfway down the 2,495′ runway. The airplane continued off the end of the runway, across a road, through a field, and hit several small trees and a tractor before coming to a stop.
The pilot was seriously injured in the crash.
An examination of the airplane’s systems revealed no pre-impact anomalies that contributed to the accident.
A flight instructor who had previously flown with the pilot told the pilot that he should fly only with an instructor on board, and that he was not ready to fly the airplane alone. It is likely the pilot did not have the necessary experience to conduct a successful landing in the airplane.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain a proper approach speed, which resulted in a hard landing and a runway excursion. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s decision to fly the airplane without an instructor onboard.
NTSB Identification: CEN17LA341
This May 2017 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.