Wednesday, December 09, 2020

Hard Landing: Piper PA-18-105 Super Cub, N1890A; Accident occurred February 29, 2020 in Santa Barbara, California


Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Van Nuys, California

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Santa Barbara, California
Accident Number: WPR20CA105
Date & Time: February 29, 2020, 10:00 Local 
Registration: N1890A
Aircraft: Piper PA 18
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Hard landing
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal


The pilot reported that, during the landing approach to a ridgeline airstrip, he deployed full flaps and descended to the touchdown point. About 15 ft above ground level, the airplane started to descend, which he failed to recognize and arrest. The pilot added that the approach speed was also a little too slow for the unstable air, which likely increased the descent rate. Subsequently, the airplane touched down hard short of the touchdown point, nosed over, and came to rest inverted. The left wing and empennage were substantially damaged. The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures 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 failure to maintain adequate airspeed during the approach, which resulted in a rapid descent rate, hard landing, and nose-over. 


Personnel issues Aircraft control - Pilot
Aircraft Airspeed - Incorrect use/operation
Aircraft Descent rate - Not attained/maintained

Factual Information

History of Flight

Approach Miscellaneous/other
Landing Hard landing (Defining event)
Landing Nose over/nose down

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 48, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used:
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: 05/30/2018
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 06/20/2019
Flight Time:  1400 hours (Total, all aircraft), 700 hours (Total, this make and model), 1400 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 30 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 10 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N1890A
Model/Series: PA 18 125
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1952
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 18-1723
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 1
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 01/07/2020, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2000 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 8 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 5267 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91 installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: O-235 SERIES
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 160 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: , 13 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site:
Observation Time: 0953 PST
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 500 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 6 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: 180°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting:
Temperature/Dew Point: 17°C / 14°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Santa Ynez, CA (IZA)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Santa Ynez, CA (IZA)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0830 PST
Type of Airspace: Class E

Airport Information

Airport: PRIVATE (N/A)
Runway Surface Type: Grass/turf
Airport Elevation: 1765 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 34.574722, -119.608611

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