Short-field landing instruction led to nosewheel collapse

The student pilot was being taught short field landing techniques, using flaps set to 30° but, during the first approach to the grass runway, a high rate of descent developed shortly before touchdown so the instructor took control and went around.

Following an in flight re-brief, the student’s second approach was better until approximately 30ft agl when idle power was selected, with the result that the nose pitched down and the descent rate increased rapidly.

Although the instructor took over control and selected full power, the instructor was unable to change the flap setting or to prevent the nosewheel from striking the runway. The aircraft bounced to approximately 20ft agl but, because the propeller had been damaged, maximum thrust was not available. The instructor was therefore unable to prevent the aircraft descending but the instructor held the control column fully back, to prevent the aircraft diving towards the ground and to try to cushion the subsequent touchdown.

The aircraft landed heavily on both mainwheels but the nose leg had already detached and it pitched forward and both the nose and the right wing tip contacted the ground. The tail rose until the fuselage was inclined almost vertically, for a few seconds, before the aircraft toppled back onto its mainwheels (Figure 1).

The occupants then switched off the fuel and electrics before opening their doors and vacating without difficulty.

Instructor’s assessment
In previous training the student had only landed with the flaps set to 20° and had not appreciated the effects of selecting idle power with the flaps set to 30°. The instructor resolved to give future students more landing practice with the flaps set to 30° before trying to teach them short field techniques.

From an AAIB report

Author: FTN Editor

Share This News On