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 April 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 took off from Chavenay aerodrome for a circular cross-country flight. He had planned to make touch-and-go landings at Pontoise and Rouen, and then to fly to Chartres before returning to Chavenay.
The expected flight time was 1 hour and 27 minutes. The pilot had calculated that, in order to take into account the necessary reserves, he had to take on board 73 litres of fuel. He decided to replenish the main tank, which would give him an endurance of four flight hours.
When he arrived in Pontoise TMA, the pilot was informed that he would have to wait about
20 minutes because of other traffic. He then decided to change his plans and headed directly to Rouen.
In contact with the Rouen controller, the pilot was cleared to enter the controlled airspace and prepare an extended right hand downwind leg for runway 04. He was then instructed to extend the downwind leg further due to preceding traffic.
The pilot explained that, once established on final, he was on a stabilized path, with the help of the PAPI. The crosswind was significant but stable and controlled with the stick. The approach speed maintained by the pilot was 120 km/h.
On flaring, the pilot put the aeroplane back on the runway centreline by applying left rudder. He felt that before touchdown, the aeroplane had a tendency to pivot to the right. On touchdown, the aeroplane suddenly veered to the right. The pilot tried to regain control but was unable to do so.
The aeroplane went off the right side of the runway and came to rest in a ditch running along the edge of the runway.
2 - ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
2.1 Weather conditions
Before the flight, the pilot consulted the weather forecasts. The Rouen METAR indicated CAVOK with wind 11016KT. The long TAF indicated 130500ZZ 1306/1406 12012KT CAVOK=.
The Rouen ATIS that the pilot checked in flight indicated runway 04 was in use with a wind from 120° at 15 kt.
2.2 Pilot information
The pilot was 57 years old at the time of the accident. He held a valid aeroplane private pilot license issued on 20 July 2017. At the time of the accident, he had logged 194 flight hours, all on the DR400, and 2 hours and 46 minutes in the 3 months preceding the accident.
He explained that, being based at Chavenay and frequently flying to Pontoise, he was used to having intersecting runways at these two aerodromes. He was not used to crosswind landings, especially in strong winds like the day of the accident.
3 - SAFETY LESSONS LEARNED
Practical training in landing in a crosswind during flights with an instructor permits the pilot to learn how to master this technique, especially on touchdown and during the landing run, when the aeroplane is still at a high speed.
When the instruction is carried out from an aerodrome with intersecting runways, there may be fewer occasions to practice this technique. In this case, deliberately more advanced practical training may help a pilot who has recently obtained his licence, to overcome difficulties in a real crosswind landing situation.
There is a ditch outside the safety area of runway 04-22 at Rouen aerodrome. Depending on the location, it is about 50 to 70 m from the edge of the runway. The position of this obstacle is in accordance with the regulatory requirements. Nevertheless, over the last few years, several runway veer-offs on Rouen aerodrome have been recorded by the BEA and in several of them, the aeroplane was damaged due to the presence of the ditch.