Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Landing Area Undershoot: Piper PA-28-235, N8641W; accident occurred July 30, 2019 at Meadow Lake Airport (KFLY), Falcon, El Paso County, Colorado

View of damaged left stabilator. 
Federal Aviation Administration

View of damaged empennage. 
Federal Aviation Administration

Federal Aviation Administration

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Denver, Colorado

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms


Location: Falcon, CO
Accident Number: GAA19CA471
Date & Time: 07/30/2019, 1930 AKD
Registration: N8641W
Aircraft: PIPER PA28
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Landing area undershoot
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

The pilot reported that the main runway was closed at the high-altitude destination airport, so he planned to make a short-field landing on a perpendicular 2,084 ft runway. During landing, the airplane "ended up short..." and he attempted to go around, but he did not add power fast enough. The airplane impacted a construction barrier near the runway threshold and the left main landing gear separated.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left horizontal stabilizer and empennage.

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

The airport's automated weather observation station reported that, about 5 minutes after the accident, the wind was from 150° at 6 knots. The pilot landed the airplane on runway 08.

Archived Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs) for the date of the accident stated that:

RWY 15/33 CLSD



The airport manager reported that runway 15/33 was closed due to construction and they issued a NOTAM with the intention that pilots could take off on runway 8 and land on runway 26 to avoid construction equipment. He added that airport management had no issues if pilots landed on runway 8, as long as the landing facilitated a headwind and construction equipment was avoided. He reported that the NOTAM for runway 26 meant "closed except full stop landing."

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 41, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land; Single-engine Sea
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 11/01/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 03/22/2018
Flight Time:   (Estimated) 1325.7 hours (Total, all aircraft), 221.1 hours (Total, this make and model), 826.9 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 19.9 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 1.1 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0.1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: PIPER
Registration: N8641W
Model/Series: PA28 235
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1963
Amateur Built:No 
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 28-10158
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 06/08/2019, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2900 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 4413 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-540
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 235 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KFLY, 6874 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 0135 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 5°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 9000 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 11000 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 6 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 150°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting:
Temperature/Dew Point: 19°C / 12°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Colorado Spring, CO (COS)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Falcon, CO (FLY)
Type of Clearance: VFR Flight Following
Departure Time: 1900 MDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Asphalt; Grass/turf; Gravel
Airport Elevation: 6873 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 08
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 2084 ft / 35 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop; Traffic Pattern

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries:N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 38.943611, -104.570278 (est)


  1. Projection, one of the obstacles to learning.

  2. I do believe that one of the 3 things a PIC needs to be aware of before a flight is the runway length of the operational runways at the destination airport.

    I believe that another PIC "would have prevented this accident" .....

  3. That won't buff out. Pilot error and not FAA funding is the cause here, short runway but well within the 235's capability. T/O is another matter, but the landing shouldn't have been difficult, even though it's short. I think the runway length spooked him a bit, and he tried to land slower than normal and ended up with a higher sink rate than what he's used to, trying to 'put it on the numbers'.