AAIB investigation to Piper PA-32R-300 Cherokee Lance, G-BDWP

Landed short of the runway, Bagby (Thirsk) Airfield, Yorkshire, 11 September 2016


The pilot was on the approach, with a slight tailwind, to Runway 06 when he realised he was too low. He applied power but touched down in the field short of the threshold. The field and transition to the runway were not smooth, resulting in significant aircraft damage. The pilot was uninjured.

He stated that he was distracted trying to make contact with another aircraft which he believed was intending to taxi across the runway. He later found that the other pilot was aware of him and had stopped clear of the runway, but was temporarily out of radio contact.

Runway 06 has a 2.6% upslope which can create the visual illusion of being higher on the approach than is actually the case and lead to a low approach. The airfield information notes that, in light winds, pilots tend to use the upslope for landing and the downslope of the reciprocal, Runway 24, for takeoff.

The landing was at night and the pilot observed that the runway edge lighting was good but lacked threshold lighting which might have been helpful. However, the airfield is unlicensed and CAA Publication CAP 793 - ‘Safe Operating Practices at Unlicensed Aerodromes’ recommends the use of threshold lighting but there is no requirement to do so.

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Piper PA-32R-300 Cherokee Lance, G-BDWP 02-17

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Glossary of abbreviations

Published 9 February 2017