Accident to the Robin DR400 - 180 registered F-BVCK on 23/06/2020 at Pau Pyrénées (Pyrénées-Atlantiques)

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 June 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 pilot. This information has not been independently validated by the BEA


The pilot, accompanied by a passenger, carried out a flight from Melun-Villaroche aerodrome bound for Pau-Pyrénées. The expected duration of the flight was 2 hours and 50 minutes. The flight range of the DR400 out of Melun is approximately 5 hours. The pilot planned to refuel at Pau-Pyrénées to be able to continue to Toulouse.
The flight was uneventful. The pilot landed on runway 31 at about 16:45 and asked the controller for clearance to taxi to the refuelling station. The pilot vacated the runway and taxied to parking area D at point 1 (Figure 1)
The controller told the pilot that the fuel pump was facing him. The pilot confirmed that he had it in sight. A service vehicle was ahead of him and an agent was waiting for him. The pilot indicated that he saw a service road ahead with a yellow line, which he assumed was the access road (Figure 2).

The presence of the STOP sign surprised him, but he assumed that the left wing would pass over it. He very slowly taxied along the service road but got caught on the sign. He then asked to leave the frequency, shut down the engine, and got out of the aeroplane to assess the damage. The STOP sign was embedded in the lower surface of the left wing, at the dihedral. With the help of the passenger, he freed the wing and pushed the aeroplane to the parking area.

2.1 Pilot information

The 55-year-old pilot held a PPL license valid until 31 December 2021. He had logged 308 flight hours, 300 hours of which were on the DR400-180. He had flown 18 hours and 50 minutes in the 3 months preceding the accident, including 15 hours and 30 minutes in the last 30 days.

2.2 Aerodrome information

The path to the refuelling station from parking area D is indicated by an orange dotted line on the aerial view of the aerodrome (Figure 1).This path is not obvious and the yellow line leading to the service road can mislead a pilot.

Figure 1: Aerial view of a part of Pau-Pyrénées aerodrome (Source: Google Earth)
Figure 2: Service road used by the pilot as seen from parking area D (Picture provided by the pilot)