Accident to the Cessna 172 - R registered F-ONDU on 01/05/2018 at Terre-De-Haut, Îles des Saintes (Guadeloupe)

Investigation progression Closed
Progress: 100%

The pilot was on a cross-country VFR flight from Pointe-à-Pitre Le Raizet airport to Saintes Terre-de-Haut aerodrome. It was a pleasure flight lasting just under 20 minutes, with two passengers onboard.

The pilot flew overhead the aerodrome. During the approach to runway 09, the radar data showed that the aircraft was following a trajectory parallel to the approach path shown on the VAC and offset to the south by about 250 m. Five hundred and twenty metres upstream from the runway threshold, the aircraft's left wing hit the top of a tree. The pilot lost control of the aircraft, which came to rest 60 m further on after being stopped by a tree trunk.

The approach to runway 09 at Les Saintes is tricky because of a final trajectory that is offset in respect of the runway centreline, the late acquisition of a view of the runway on final and local aerological phenomena. A clearance issued by an instructor is necessary to be able to fly into the aerodrome. The pilot had obtained his clearance in January 2018 and the characteristics of his aircraft allowed him to land at Les Saintes aerodrome.

At the time of the accident, the pilot probably benefited from favourable aerological conditions during the approach. He followed an approach path that was not in line with the recommended procedure: he lined up too early on the runway centreline on a standard approach slope without being aware of the presence of obstacles. The investigation revealed that a significant number of pilots deviated from the procedure by aligning prematurely on the runway centreline. This deviation, which makes it possible to acquire a view of the runway threshold more quickly, entails flying over terrain and obstacles, including dwellings, at a very low height. This increases the risk of an accident.