Reims Cessna FA152, G-BHEN, 26 December 2004

Reims Cessna FA152, G-BHEN


The pilot and his passenger were the last competitors scheduled to take part in the local Aero Club’s flour bombing and spot landing competitions. Following delays earlier in the day, the competitions were running behind schedule. Having completed three runs to drop flour bombs on a target, the pilot made a normal left-hand circuit and approach for the asphalt Runway 28, aiming to touch down on a line provided as a spot landing target. Agricultural activity immediately to the north of the runway had left that area with ruts running parallel to the runway edge, and these ruts were now filled with ice. The pilot reported that in the limited light from the setting sun, these ruts appeared very similar to the runway area, and although he had lined up correctly on the extended runway centreline at first, the aircraft drifted, and he did not recognise that he was no longer aligned correctly with the runway. The aircraft touched down some 60 metres north of the runway and rolled out on its landing gear for approximately 25 metres with the main wheels running in the parallel ruts. The nose wheel assembly then failed and the aircraft very slowly pitched over, coming to rest inverted. Both occupants, who were wearing lap and diagonal harnesses, were able to vacate the aircraft uninjured. The local time of sunset was 1555 hrs, and official night began at 1625 hrs, six minutes after the accident. The decision to continue the competition in deteriorating light conditions played a significant part in the accident.

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Published 10 December 2014