AAIB investigation to Piper PA-28R-200 Cherokee Arrow, G-RACO

High flare followed by abrupt pitch nose-down resulting in heavy landing, Manchester/Barton Airport, 5 December 2017.


The pilot was receiving instruction as part of a type conversion to the PA-28R, having previously flown Focke-Wulf P.149 and Yak-55 aircraft.

During the first circuit the pilot configured the aircraft for landing and maintained a small amount of throttle once over the threshold. The pilot reported that when he flared the aircraft he realised he was too high and lowered the nose, as directed by the instructor. The aircraft pitched nose-down abruptly and struck the grass runway. The nose landing gear collapsed and the wing structure deformed around the main landing gear mounts.

The pilot assessed that he had stalled during the flare, causing the aircraft to pitch down abruptly. Conversely, the instructor considered that the pilot’s forward input was too pronounced, causing the abrupt pitch down. The instructor stated that it was not possible to have reacted in time to avert the accident.

Both the pilot and the instructor considered that a contributory factor to the high flare was that most of the pilot’s experience was on aircraft types with much higher seating positions than the PA-28R.

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Piper PA-28R-200 Cherokee Arrow, G-RACO 04-18

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Glossary of abbreviations

Published 12 April 2018