Heavy landing, Perth, 5 July 2014.
The pilot was on his second flight in a Pitts Special. Because visibility of the landing area during the approach is not good in this type of aircraft, he flew an approach in which his initial aiming point was about a third of the way along the runway and, when certain of reaching the airfield, side-slipped the aircraft to steepen the approach and bring the touchdown point closer to the threshold.
The accident occurred when the pilot stopped the side-slip and flared the aircraft for landing. The rate of descent was too high and the flare did not prevent the aircraft from hitting the ground hard. The undercarriage collapsed, allowing the propeller to strike the ground, and the aircraft ground looped before stopping. The pilot, who was uninjured, made the aircraft safe and vacated it normally. There was no fire.
The pilot considered that he did not maintain sufficient airspeed whilst side-slipping, so the flare did not arrest the high rate of descent. He thought that the energy absorbing seat foam and using a seven-point harness had prevented injury.
Published: 16 December 2014
Date of occurrence: 5 July 2014