Friday, June 07, 2019

Hard Landing: Ercoupe 415-C, N3667H; accident occurred June 06, 2019 at Purdue University Airport (KLAF), Lafayette, Tippecanoe County, Indiana

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Plainfield, Indiana

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Lafayette, IN
Accident Number: GAA19CA329
Date & Time: 06/06/2019, 2030 EDT
Registration: N3667H
Aircraft: Ercoupe 415
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Hard landing
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 


The flight instructor reported that he was going to demonstrate a simulated engine failure on takeoff for the student pilot. After climbing the airplane several hundred feet, he reduced the engine power to idle and pitched the airplane to maintain best glide speed. He applied back pressure to the yoke during the landing flare and realized the airplane was going to land harder than desired. The airplane landed hard on the runway.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings.

The instructor reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The flight instructor's failure to maintain pitch control and his improper landing flare, which resulted in a hard landing.


Pitch control - Not attained/maintained (Cause)
Landing flare - Not attained/maintained (Cause)

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Instructor/check pilot (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Simulated/training event
Hard landing (Defining event)

Flight Instructor Information

Certificate: Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 22, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Single-engine; Instrument Airplane
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 1 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 06/16/2016
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 300 hours (Total, all aircraft), 30 hours (Total, this make and model), 220 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 40 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 25 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Ercoupe
Registration: N3667H
Model/Series: 415 C
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1946
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 4292
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 05/20/2019, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1400 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 3206.7 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: C91  installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: A-85
Registered Owner: Able Flight Inc
Rated Power: 85 hp
Operator: Able Flight Inc
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KLAF, 637 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 2354 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 191°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts:  6 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 80°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.82 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 26°C / 17°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Lafayette, IN (LAF)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Unknown
Destination: Lafayette, IN (LAF)
Type of Clearance: Unknown
Departure Time:  EDT
Type of Airspace: Class D

Airport Information

Airport: Purdue University (LAF)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 605 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 10
IFR Approach:None 
Runway Length/Width: 6600 ft / 150 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Simulated Forced Landing

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude:  40.412222, -86.936944 (est)

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