Friday, January 14, 2022

Landing Area Undershoot: Beech P35 Bonanza, N436T; accident occurred January 12, 2021 at Poplar Grove Airport (C77), Boone County, Illinois

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident. 

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Des Plaines, Illinois

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:
Location: Poplar Grove, Illinois
Accident Number: CEN21LA189
Date and Time: January 12, 2021, 15:00 Local 
Registration: N436T
Aircraft: Beech P35
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Landing area undershoot
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal


The pilot reported that during the approach, he landed short of the runway and impacted a snowbank. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing and fuselage. The pilot reported there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. The pilot reported that during the approach, an airplane that had landed in front of him appeared to stop on the runway to turn back for the midfield taxiway. The pilot reported he was “focused on the airplane in front of him, instead of flying his airplane.”

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's distraction and his failure to maintain a proper glidepath on the approach, which resulted in him landing short of the runway and impacting a snowbank.


Personnel issues Monitoring other aircraft - Pilot
Aircraft Descent/approach/glide path - Not attained/maintained
Environmental issues Snowy/icy terrain - Contributed to outcome

Factual Information

History of Flight

Landing-flare/touchdown Landing area undershoot (Defining event)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial; Private 
Age: 78, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land; Multi-engine land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None 
Toxicology Performed:
Medical Certification: Class 3 With waivers/limitations 
Last FAA Medical Exam: June 30, 2020
Occupational Pilot: No 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: 6196 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1107 hours (Total, this make and model), 4.3 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 4.3 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Beech 
Registration: N436T
Model/Series: P35
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1963
Amateur Built:
Airworthiness Certificate: Utility 
Serial Number: D-7240
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: Annual 
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: Installed
Engine Model/Series: IO470
Registered Owner:
Rated Power:
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: KRFD
Distance from Accident Site: 15 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 15:54 Local 
Direction from Accident Site: 240°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility: 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 6 knots / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:  /
Wind Direction: 190° 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:  /
Altimeter Setting: 30.02 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 2°C / -3°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Rockford, IL (RFD) 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Poplar Grove, IL (C77)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 15:20 Local
Type of Airspace:

Airport Information

Airport: Poplar Grove C77 
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 800 ft msl 
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 30 
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3773 ft / 50 ft 
VFR Approach/Landing: Traffic pattern

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 42.321487,-88.837441(est)

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