Sunday, August 11, 2019

Abnormal Runway Contact: Cessna 172S Skyhawk, N557SP; accident occurred August 20, 2018 at Burlington International Airport (KBTV), Chittenden County, Vermont

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Portland, Maine

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Location: Burlington, VT
Accident Number: GAA18CA547
Date & Time: 08/20/2018, 1500 EDT
Registration: N557SP
Aircraft: Cessna 172
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Abnormal runway contact
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 


The solo student pilot reported that, during approach, he was struggling to keep the airspeed at 60 to 70 knots, so he entered a side slip and reduced the power to idle. Once assured the airplane would reach the runway, he aligned the airplane with the runway. The airplane landed on the left main landing gear, bounced, and the student performed a go-around. He entered the left traffic pattern and landed without further incident.

Postaccident examination of the airplane revealed substantial damage to the firewall and fuselage.

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

The automated weather observation station located on the airport reported that, about 6 minutes before the accident, the wind was from 270° at 6 knots. The airplane landed on runway 33. 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The student pilot's improper landing flare, which resulted in a bounced landing. 


Landing flare - Not attained/maintained (Cause)

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Student pilot (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight


Abnormal runway contact (Defining event)

Student Pilot Information

Certificate: Student
Age: 54, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 03/09/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 57.4 hours (Total, all aircraft), 16 hours (Total, this make and model), 7.3 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 18.7 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 3.8 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N557SP
Model/Series: 172 S
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1998
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 172S8043
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 07/16/2018, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2299 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 8580.8 Hours
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91A installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: IO-360-L2A
Registered Owner: Vermont Flight Academy
Rated Power: 180 hp
Operator: Vermont Flight Academy
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Pilot School (141)

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KBTV, 340 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1854 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 156°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 5500 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 6 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 270°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.13 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C / 14°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Burlington, VT (BTV)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR
Destination: Burlington, VT (BTV)
Type of Clearance: VFR; VFR Flight Following
Departure Time: 1230 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class C

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Asphalt; Concrete
Airport Elevation: 334 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 33
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 8319 ft / 150 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop; Go Around 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude:  44.472500, -73.152778 (est)

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