Saturday, September 12, 2020

Hard Landing: Cessna 172M Skyhawk, N172CS; accident occurred September 07, 2020 at Stuart Island West Airport (2WA3), Friday Harbor, San Juan County, Washington

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Des Moines, Washington

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Stuart Island, Washington 
Accident Number: WPR20CA300
Date & Time: September 7, 2020, 12:40 Local
Registration: N172CS
Aircraft: Cessna 172
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Hard landing 
Injuries: 3 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal


The pilot reported that during a steep approach, the airplane touched down with “excessive” speed and the airplane bounced hard and nosed over. The left-wing lift strut and the tailcone were substantially damaged. The pilot 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 pilot’s improper approach airspeed and landing flare, which resulted in a hard, bounced landing and nose over.


Personnel issues Decision making/judgment - Pilot
Aircraft Airspeed - Not attained/maintained
Personnel issues Aircraft control - Pilot
Aircraft Landing flare - Not attained/maintained

Factual Information

History of Flight

Landing-flare/touchdown Hard landing (Defining event)
Landing-flare/touchdown Nose over/nose down

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private 
Age: 57, 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 With waivers/limitations 
Last FAA Medical Exam: April 3, 2019
Occupational Pilot: No 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: June 13, 2020
Flight Time: (Estimated) 534 hours (Total, all aircraft), 205 hours (Total, this make and model), 482 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 15 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 8 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna 
Registration: N172CS
Model/Series: 172M 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1973
Amateur Built:
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal 
Serial Number: 17262260
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle 
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: April 15, 2020 Annual 
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2400 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 14.2 Hrs 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 8745.5 Hrs at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91A installed, activated, aided in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: O-320-E2D
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power: 160 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: CYYJ,64 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 8 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 13:00 Local 
Direction from Accident Site: 236°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility: 30 miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 2400 ft AGL
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 12 knots / 17 knots
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 20° Turbulence 
Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.23 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 26°C / 0°C
Precipitation and Obscuration:
Departure Point: Lake Stevens, WA (WN53)
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Destination: Stuart Island, WA 
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 12:00 Local 
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Stuart Island West 2WA3
Runway Surface Type: Dirt; Grass/turf
Airport Elevation: 200 ft msl
Runway Surface Condition: Dry; Rough
Runway Used: 27
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 1560 ft / 50 ft 
VFR Approach/Landing: Full stop; Traffic pattern

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 2 Minor
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 3 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 48.684444,-123.20972 (est)

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