Sunday, July 12, 2020

Hard Landing: Cessna 177 Cardinal, N29334; accident occurred June 29, 2020 at Pittsfield Municipal Airport (KPSF), Berkshire County, Massachusetts

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board 

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Bradley, Connecticut 

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Pittsfield, Massachusetts
Accident Number: ERA20CA242
Date & Time: June 29, 2020, 14:34 Local
Registration: N29334
Aircraft: Cessna 177 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Hard landing
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal


As the pilot approached the destination airport he noted a thunderstorm cell in the vicinity as he entered the airport traffic pattern. During the subsequent landing the airplane, “…hit and porpoised twice.” The pilot further described that as the landing continued, he was losing control, and the airplane was drifting to the left side of the runway, so he initiated a go around and joined the traffic pattern for another landing. The second landing was normal, and he taxied to the ramp. Postaccident examination of the airplane revealed that the fuselage structure was substantially damaged during the first landing. Review of the weather conditions that prevailed at the time of the accident indicated that the pilot landed with right quartering crosswind. The pilot reported that there were no mechanical malfunctions or failures of the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. The pilot further stated that he should have been less rushed to land and should have extended the downwind for landing as he did after the go around, to a safe, less rushed landing and tie down.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot’s improper landing flare, which resulted in a hard, bounced landing, and substantial damage to the airplane’s fuselage.


Aircraft Landing flare - Not attained/maintained
Personnel issues Aircraft control - Pilot

Factual Information

History of Flight

Landing-flare/touchdown Hard landing (Defining event)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline transport 
Age: 72,Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land 
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None 
Restraint Used: Lap only
Instrument Rating(s): Helicopter 
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None 
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With waivers/limitations 
Last FAA Medical Exam: June 9, 2020
Occupational Pilot: No 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: October 18, 2019
Flight Time: 10248 hours (Total, all aircraft), 10 hours (Total, this make and model), 10101 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 10 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 10 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 10 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Passenger Information

Certificate: Age: Female
Airplane Rating(s): 
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): 
Restraint Used: Lap only
Instrument Rating(s): 
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): 
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: 
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: No 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna 
Registration: N29334
Model/Series: 177 Undesignated
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1968
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal; Utility 
Serial Number: 17700820
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: November 25, 2019
Annual Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2350 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 15 Hrs 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 4098.5 Hrs at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91A installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-360-A1A
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power: 180 Horsepower
Operator: On file 
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC) 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KPSF,1188 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 14:54 Local
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 3400 ft AGL
Visibility 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 9 knots / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 320° 
Turbulence Severity
Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 28.84 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 26°C / 17°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Towanda, PA (N27)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Pittsfield, MA
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 13:00 Local
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Pittsfield Muni PSF
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 1188 ft msl 
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 26
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 5791 ft / 100 ft VFR
Approach/Landing: Traffic pattern

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 42.427501,-73.290832(est)

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