Accident to the Piper - PA28 - 161 registered F-GFJJ on 26/07/2020 at Dunkerque Les Moëres (Nord)

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 is principally based on statements made by the pilot.  This information has not been independently validated by the BEA.


The pilot, accompanied by three passengers, took off at about 17:00 from Saint-Quentin Roupy aerodrome bound for Dunkerque Les Moëres aerodrome, where it was based. It was the return flight of a cross-country flight carried out at the end of the morning.

After flying over the Bay of Dunkirk, he carried out a reconnaissance of the destination aerodrome at a height of 800 ft[1], and noted that the windsock was "hanging". F-GFJJ was the only aircraft in the circuit and the pilot chose to land on runway 07[2]. The final approach was nominal and the pilot configured the aeroplane for landing (flaps at 40°). At a height of about 200 ft, he noted that the indicated airspeed was 60kt[3].

After touchdown, he retracted the flaps and noted that the braking was not very effective. The plane then veered to the right, went off the end of the runway and stopped in a ditch.


2.1 Pilot information

The 74-year-old pilot held a private pilot license (aeroplane) issued in 1986, with a valid Single Engine Piston (SEP) land rating.

He had logged 444 flight hours, including five hours in the last three months of which three hours and 15 minutes in the month preceding the accident flight, all on F-GFJJ.

2.2 Weather information

The pilot indicated that he checked the weather information at about 11:00, before leaving Dunkirk, on a dedicated website and on a weather application on his cell phone. 

The information collected was as follows:

  • Ceiling higher than 3000 ft;
  • Visibility greater than 10 km;
  • Variable wind direction and strength.

The 17:55 automatic METAR from Koksijde air base, located about 10 km from Dunkirk aerodrome, gave the following information:

  • Wind from 250°, 14 kt;
  • Visibility greater than 10 km;
  • No clouds detected.

The 16:25 and 16:55 automatic METARs from the same station gave roughly similar information.

2.3 Examination of the GPS data

The aeroplane was equipped with a GPS. The pilot and the flying club were able to read out its data. The BEA did not assess the reliability and precision of this information.

The examination of this data showed that, during the downwind leg preceding the landing at Dunkirk, while the aeroplane was flying on heading 250°, the recorded ground speed was about
70 kt. This ground speed increased during the turn onto the base leg until it reached about 100 kt on final, on heading 070°.


[1] Published circuit height: 500 ft.

[2] Unpaved runway measuring 638 x 50 m, no QFU is preferred.

[3] Final approach airspeed recommended by the flight manual: 63 kt.