Accident to the Robin DR400 registered F-GAOB on 10/07/2020 at Noizé

Investigation progression Closed
Progress: 100%

Cat. 3 investigation report: report concerning an occurrence with limited consequences, based on one or more statements not independently validated by the BEA.

This is a courtesy translation by the BEA of the Final Report on the Safety Investigation published in December 2020. As accurate as the translation may be, the original text in French is the work of reference.

Note: the following information describes the circumstances of the accident as the pilot reported them. This information has not been independently validated by the BEA.

1 - HISTORY OF THE FLIGH

The pilot had planned a local flight of approximately thirty minutes from Thouars aerodrome. His goal was to practise handling exercises to prepare for a cross-country flight.

The weather conditions were wind from 330° at 12 to 15 kt, CAVOK. The tanks contained a total of 60 l of fuel distributed as follows: 12 l in the left tank, 18 l in the right tank and 30 l in the auxiliary tank.

The pilot took off from runway 30, then headed to the south-west sector of the aerodrome at an altitude of approximately 2,500 ft to carry out the handling exercises.

After approximately 12 minutes of flight, returning to the aerodrome, the pilot performed a holding angle-of-attack exercise during the approach. He specified that the speed was reduced to 150 km/h, the altitude was 2,000 ft. He activated the carburettor heat system then checked in on the frequency at three minutes from the aerodrome flyover for a full-stop landing.

During the flyover of the aerodrome, the pilot indicated on the frequency his intention to join the downwind leg of runway 30, while setting the flaps to the 1st flap detent position and the electric pump to "ON".

At the end of the downwind leg, he switched tanks by selecting the rear tank. The engine then started to run irregularly.

The pilot entered the base leg and leaned over to see if the pump was actually switched on. From his seated position, he could not see the green illuminated button.

He then turned the pump to "Off" and then immediately to "On".

The sun, quite low at the end of the day coming from the right rear, overlit the instrument panel and the pilot did not immediately notice that the fuel pressure light was on.

As the engine did not restart, he switched tank again to select the right tank and tried to start the engine once more.

As he thought he was too far from the runway and fearing that the farm buildings at the end of the runway could be a hazard, he turned to the right to find more open ground.

He switched tank again and tried to restart the engine. He made a nose down input thinking he could get the engine to start under speed.

As the engine did not restart, he spotted a field to land in. He set the fuel selector and the magneto to "Off".

Seeing a power line across the field, he continued the turn to the next field, but just before landing he saw round bales of hay.

He tried to avoid them by continuing to the right. The height of the wheat did not allow him to see the asphalt road between the two fields in time.

Running over it, the plane bounced slightly. When the plane landed again, the nose wheel broke.