Accident to the Issoire Aviation APM-20 Lionceau registered F-GRRO on 22/08/2020 at Dax (Nouvelle-Aquitaine)

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 May 2021. 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 instructor and the student pilot. This information has not been independently validated by the BEA.


The student pilot, accompanied by an instructor, was performing aerodrome circuits on runway 25[1]. During the second circuit, after making a first landing without difficulty, the aeroplane briefly passed above the final approach slope before joining it again. At the end of the final approach, the student pilot started the flare too high and continued it. The instructor wanted to increase power to cushion the contact with the ground, but did not manage to grab the power lever in time. The aeroplane hit the runway hard. The instructor decided to terminate the flight. No difficulties were experienced while taxiing. The damage to the aeroplane was only noticed when it was back in the parking area.

2.1 Pilots’ experience and statements

The instructor and the student pilot considered that they did not feel any tiredness during the flight and were not disturbed by any external element or event. Moreover, although they both wore a mask in accordance with the health directives related to the COVID-19 pandemic, they considered that the quality of communication between them remained good and did not affect the course of the approach and landing.

2.1.1 Instructor

The 91-year-old instructor held a PPL license with valid SEP, MEP, IFR, mountain wheel and FI ratings. On the day of the accident, he had logged 18,467 flight hours, 12,254 as an instructor, and 10 training hours in the last 5 weeks, including 1 hour on the DR400 in the early afternoon before the occurrence.
He reported that the student had handled the first approach and landing correctly.

On the second final approach, in landing configuration, they experienced convective effects that briefly carried them above the slope and then back onto it. The instructor felt that the path and airspeed were stabilized and allowed the student to continue the approach. The instructor felt that the student started the flare too high and did not ease the stick forward. The instructor wanted to reapply power, but as the situation evolved quickly, he was unable to grab the control in the centre of the instrument panel in time.
He did not remember whether the stall warning had sounded during the landing, but said that he had tested its operation during the pre-flight inspection.

2.1.2 Student pilot

The 61-year-old student pilot registered in October 2019. The day of the occurrence, he had logged 15 hours of dual flight, all on the APM-20, 10 of which with the instructor of the accident flight. This was his third flight after the spring 2020 interruption of activities due to the COVID-19 health situation. He had carried out the previous flight with a different instructor.
The student pilot reported that he did not hear the stall warning during the approach. He considered that there had been a ground effect during the flare and that everything went very fast. He also indicated that he felt a lot of wind.

2.2 Weather conditions

The automatic METARs of Dax aerodrome gave the following information:

- At 14:00 UTC[2], wind from 260° at 5 kt, varying from 200° to 350°, visibility greater than 10 km, temperature 28 °C.
- At 14:30 UTC, wind from 340° for 9 Kt, varying from 290° to 30°, visibility over 10 km, temperature 26 °C

[1] Paved runway, 800 x 40 m, LDA 440 m, according to the VAC chart in force at the time of the accident.

[2] 16:00 and 16:30, local time.