Sunday, April 18, 2021

Abnormal Runway Contact: Lancair Super ES, N855SH; accident occurred April 19, 2020 at Merritt Island Airport (KCOI), Brevard County, Florida

View of firewall damage 

View of engine mount damage

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Orlando, Florida

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Merritt Island, FL
Accident Number: ERA20CA153
Date & Time: 04/19/2020, 1115 EDT
Registration: N855SH
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Abnormal runway contact
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 


The pilot reported that, while on the final approach to land, the airplane may have been a little fast. When the airplane touched down on the runway, it porpoised, which resulted in the separation of the nose landing gear. The airplane then veered off the runway onto grass. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the firewall and engine mount. The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe or engine 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 a stabilized approach and improper landing flare, which resulted in a porpoised landing.


Aircraft Landing flare - Not attained/maintained
Aircraft Descent/approach/glide path - Not attained/maintained
Personnel issues Aircraft control - Pilot

Factual Information

History of Flight

Landing Abnormal runway contact (Defining event)
Landing Part(s) separation from AC
Landing Runway excursion

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport
Age: 57, Female
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
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 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 02/21/2020
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 03/27/2020
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 3575 hours (Total, all aircraft), 24 hours (Total, this make and model), 1304 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 5 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: LANCAIR 
Model/Series: SUPER ES
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture:2020 
Amateur Built: Yes 
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 059
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 03/20/2020, Continuous Airworthiness
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3100 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 26 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: C126 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: IO-550N
Registered Owner: Sarah Henderson
Rated Power: 310 hp
Operator: Sarah Henderson
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: COF, 8 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 8 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1156 EDT
Direction from Accident Site: 145°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 8 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 200°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.97 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C / 21°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Merritt Island, FL (COI)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None 
Destination: Merritt Island, FL (COI)
Type of Clearance: None 
Departure Time:1030 EDT 
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Merritt Island (COI)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 5 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 29
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3601 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop; Traffic Pattern

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: 28.341667, -80.685556 (est)

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