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 February 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.
1 - HISTORY OF THE FLIGHT
The pilot, accompanied by a passenger, took off from Mulhouse Habsheim aerodrome for a cross-country flight. After carrying out touch-and-goes at Montbéliard Courcelles and Vesoul Frotey aerodromes, he headed for Besançon La Vèze aerodrome to carry out a touch-and-go. During the approach for runway 23, the AFIS agent informed him that the wind was coming from 200° at 9 kt.
During the landing run, the aeroplane deviated 30° to the left of the runway. The pilot applied power. The plane veered off the runway. As he could not bring the aeroplane back onto the runway centreline and regain speed, the pilot reduced power and applied the brakes. The landing gear broke when crossing a drainage ditch and the plane stopped in the grass 20 m to the left of the runway.
2 - ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
The weather conditions observed on the aerodrome were as follows: wind from 160° at 9 kt, visibility greater than 10 km, ceiling over 3,000 ft, no precipitation. The runway was slightly damp.
The 44-year-old pilot held a PPL(A) aeroplane private pilot license. He had logged 250 flight hours including 200 hours on type and 5 hours in the previous three months.
The pilot indicated that the touchdown was "soft" and that when the nose gear touched the runway, the aeroplane abruptly deviated to the left. He specified that he then applied repeated, firm inputs on the rudder pedals, without effect. As the aeroplane approached the edge of the runway, he decided to increase power. The aeroplane was slowed down by running in the mud on the edge of the runway and did not gain enough speed. The pilot then saw a ditch in the path of the plane and reduced power. He could not stop the plane before the ditch.
3 - LESSONS LEARNED
The BEA has published a study on runway excursions in general aviation. Out of the 40 accidents analysed, 22 were runway veer-offs involving Robin tricycles. A lack of coordination of rudder/stick inputs was often behind these losses of control. A decided input on the controls generally permits the pilot to regain control of the path.
 Technical control during landing and self-knowledge - Analysis of runway excursions in 2006 in general aviation (in french only).