Aviation Accident Summaries

Aviation Accident Summary WPR21LA269

Petaluma, CA, USA

Aircraft #1




The pilot reported that, about 20 minutes into the cross-country flight, the airplane experienced a partial electrical failure which caused the intercom, radio, transponder, flaps, and some engine instruments to go offline, although the voltmeter and ammeter were still showing normal readings. The pilot cycled both the master and avionics master switches, with no improvement, and decided to divert to the nearest untowered airport. During the descent and approach, he became distracted multiple times as he heard intermittent short "blips" from the intercom. The pilot entered a right downwind entry into the traffic pattern and planned for a no-flap landing. He overshot to the right of the runway centerline as they turned from the base to final leg. He was able to maneuver to rejoin the centerline by the time they reached short final. They passed over the runway threshold with a left crosswind, and as the pilot initiated the flare, he felt the airplane sink aggressively, and he realized that he had initiated the flare too high. The airplane drifted to the right of the runway surface and landed hard in the grass in a nose high attitude. The lower fuselage and wing strut was substantially damaged. The pilot reported that an on-airport mechanic examined the airplane after the accident and was not able to find any issues with the electrical system. The pilot reported that, he had significant astigmatism and myopia, and used contact lenses for all previous flights, however the accident flight was the first time he had flown with eyeglasses after experiencing a contact lens malfunction that morning. He also reported that although he had performed multiple no-flap landings in the past, the accompanying change in forward visibility over the nose in concert with the use of eyeglasses instead of contact lenses, resulted in a changed sight picture and reduced peripheral vision.

Probable Cause and Findings

The pilot’s improper landing flare which resulted in a hard landing following a partial loss of electrical power. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s distraction and hampered visual function.


Source: NTSB Aviation Accident Database

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