Pilot injured after aircraft overturned on landing in Westmeath, report says

Pilot sustained bruising following incident that took place near Devlin last June

A pilot sustained minor bruising after the aircraft they were flying overturned following a "bounced landing" in Co Westmeath, according to a report from the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU).

The pilot, who was the sole occupant of the Cessna 140 aircraft, was landing at a private airfield near Delvin last June when the incident occurred. The aircraft experienced a bounced landing and the pilot applied the brakes in an attempt to bring it to a halt.

“The aircraft subsequently pitched forward, overturned and came to rest, inverted on the runway. The pilot sustained minor bruising. There was no fire,” the report said.

The pilot had departed from Ballyboy Airfield, Co Meath, just before 6.30pm and had intended landing at a nearby private airfield known locally as Snug Beag.


The AAIU said the aircraft was configured for a single-occupant short flight and was therefore “quite light”.

It said tailwheel-configured aircraft are, by virtue of the undercarriage geometry, susceptible to directional instability and nosing over during heavy breaking. “Once the aircraft experienced the bounced landing, the option of a go-around was discounted by the pilot due to the trees and electricity wires obstructing the end of the runway,” the report said.

“The pilot applied full back elevator to keep the tailwheel on the ground while maintaining directional control of the aircraft, and applied significant pressure to the brakes. This resulted in the aircraft overturning about its lateral axis and coming to rest inverted on the grass runway pointing back in the direction of flight.”

The AAIU said that, while not discounting the height of the obstacles at the end of the runway, at the point of the bounced landing the pilot had 300m of runway remaining. This “should have been sufficient to perform a go-around notwithstanding the height of the obstacles at the end of the runway”.

“As a go-around could be required for a number of reasons, the investigation notes that it would not be considered best practice to attempt to land on a runway where it is considered that there is ‘not an option’ to perform a go-around,” it added.

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times