Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Setting Stabilized Approach Criteria

Just because the FAA doesn’t get specific doesn’t mean you don’t need criteria

The flight instructor told investigators that on the base leg of the third approach, the student was holding about 700 feet AGL and wasn't descending. The flight instructor told him to increase descent. The student reduced power and selected full flaps.

The instructor said the airplane was descending too fast, and he told the student to check the vertical speed indicator before they were on short final. The instructor said he took control of the yoke and put his hand over the student pilot's hand that was on the throttle to push the throttle forward. He said the student reacted by pulling the throttle backwards.

The NTSB said the probable cause of the accident was the inadequate flare by the student pilot and the inadequate supervision and delayed go-around performed by the flight instructor. Contributing to the accident was the student pilot's failure to attain and maintain a stabilized approach.

Piper PA-46-500TP
A turboprop Piper PA-46-500TP Meridian was destroyed when it impacted wires and terrain near Double Eagle II Airport (AEG), Albuquerque, N.M. The instrument-rated private pilot and his two passengers were fatally injured. Night/VFR conditions existed. The flight originated from Scottsdale, Ariz., and had been on an IFR flight plan that the pilot canceled.

Two witnesses who were in a Cessna 172 said that they heard the pilot announce his position on the Common Traffic Advisory Frequency as being eight miles southwest of the airport. He said that he was "entering an extended right downwind to runway 22, full stop at Double Eagle."

The Cessna 172 was departing upwind from a touch-and-go. The witness who was flying radioed that he would extend his upwind to give the pilot pattern spacing. The pilot responded with, "That won't be necessary, I'm a lot faster." The witness said that the Piper pilot told him to, "Go ahead and start your right crosswind."

The witness said that as he leveled off on downwind, it appeared that the airplane was at the same pattern altitude as the Piper, 6,800 feet. He said that he continued on the downwind and, at about midfield, he heard the Piper airplane call turning base, which was the last communication he heard from the pilot. He saw a "bright blue flash." After that it was completely dark, with no fire. Rescuers found that the airplane had struck power transmission wires about 8,200 feet from the runway threshold and broke a static wire.


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