On September 16, 2002, at 0820 Pacific daylight time, a single-engine Cessna 182A, N3951D, encountered jet exhaust blast and nosed over on the landing rollout on runway 27 at San Diego International-Lindbergh Field Airport (SAN), San Diego, California. The pilot/owner operated the airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The private pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the cross-country flight, and no flight plan had been filed. The flight departed the Jean Airport, Jean, Nevada, at 0545. The flight was scheduled to terminate at Brown Field Municipal Airport (SDM), San Diego. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
According to the pilot's written statement (NTSB Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report Form 6120.1/2), the weather at Brown Field was foggy, and he was unable to land there. The Southern California Terminal Radar Approach Control (SoCal TRACON) controller offered SAN as an alternate because SAN was reporting visual flight rules (VFR) flight conditions. The pilot then coordinated with the SoCal controller for a landing at SAN. The SoCal controller "brought him in over the Mission Bay VOR [very high frequency omni-directional radio range]" and then had him descend for a right downwind for SAN. When he was handed off to the local controller (LC) for SAN he was instructed to do two 360-degree turns for spacing behind an MD-11. The pilot reported that both 360-degree turns were done "just north of midfield."
The pilot reported that he saw the MD-11 touchdown at the 1,000-foot marker. The LC then asked the pilot if he had observed the MD-11's touchdown point, and the pilot replied in the affirmative. The LC then cleared the pilot to land. The pilot indicated that he extended his downwind a "bit for more spacing." The LC warned him again of wake turbulence, and asked the pilot again if he had observed the MD-11's touchdown point along with the blue smoke. The pilot replied that he had seen the MD-11's touchdown point and was planning on touching down at the 2,000-foot marker. The pilot stated that the radio communications took place while he was on base turning to final.
On final approach the pilot set up for landing. As the airplane got closer to the runway the pilot shifted his attention from his intended touchdown point to looking down the runway. The pilot stated that he saw a "very large tail protruding onto the runway." The pilot stated that he considered going around, but the controller had cleared him to land and "clearly wanted me out of the way."
The pilot reported that touchdown was at the 2,000-foot marker slightly left of centerline. The "power was all the way out," and he applied the brakes to slow the airplane down on the landing rollout. The pilot reported that on the landing rollout he had started to retract the flaps when the airplane approached the back of the MD-11. He continued to taxi past the MD-11 to the next taxiway intersection.
The pilot stated that as his airplane passed behind the MD-11, his airplane "seemed to power up again." He looked down to check the power setting of the accident airplane to see if it had not moved, and realized that he had full left rudder input, and the flight controls were all the way to the left. He heard squeaking noises coming from his tires as they skidded to the right. The tail and left wing came up, and the right wing tip and propeller impacted the ground. At which point the airplane flipped over onto its back.
According to the SAN airport incident/accident report, the airport operations supervisor observed the accident. He had been driving eastbound on a service road adjacent to taxiway B5 when he saw the MD-11 on the taxiway with the accident airplane on runway 27 rolling out behind the MD-11. The accident airplane's left wing went up in the air, the airplane veered to the right, back to the left, and flipped over facing toward the east.
Runway 27 at SAN is 9,400 feet long by 200 feet wide. The MD-11 touched down adjacent to taxiway B2 at the 1,000-foot marker. The accident airplane touched down at taxiway B3 about the 2,000-foot marker. The MD-11 exited the runway at B5, the high-speed taxiway. SAN airport operations measured the distance between taxiway B3 and taxiway B5 as 2,054 feet.
The San Diego International-Lindbergh Field Airport tower personnel, the local controller (LC), the ground controller, the Air Traffic Control manager, the on-duty supervisor, and another controller were interviewed. All of the tower personnel indicated that the MD-11 exited the runway at taxiway B5, the high-speed taxiway, prior to the accident airplane landing, and that the MD-11 was perpendicular to the runway instead of at an angle. They indicated that the accident airplane landed long, about the 2,000-foot marker, and started to oscillate when it taxied past the MD-11.
The local controller (LC) indicated that the MD-11 "planted it" at the 1,000-foot marker, and there was a cloud of blue rubber smoke that emanated from the airplane at the touchdown point. The MD-11 was slow exiting the runway, but was entirely off the runway at taxiway B5 before the accident airplane had been cleared to land. He stated that it was unusual for an MD-11 to land at SAN so the controllers were paying close attention to it. The LC stated that at no time during the accident sequence was there an indication that the MD-11 had powered up (i.e. smoke emanating from the engines) to move off the taxiway.
The local controller stated that the accident airplane came in steeper than normal, but not diving for the runway. The flight path appeared steady, and under control. The airplane stayed well above the flight path of the MD-11. The LC reported that the accident airplane landed past taxiway B5, and then he went back to his duties. When he looked up, the accident airplane was on its back.
The ground controller (GC) indicated that the MD-11 had landed and exited the runway, and had "definitely passed the edge line of the runway." After the MD-11 came to a stop the GC instructed them to taxi without delay. When the MD-11 didn't appear to be moving, he issued the flight crew instructions to follow a Southwest airplane. The GC looked out the window and indicated that the accident airplane had not yet crossed over the displaced threshold. He checked again to make sure that the MD-11 had cleared the runway. The GC stated that the accident airplane touched down prior to taxiway B5, and he looked away. When he looked out of the tower window again, the airplane's tail was lifting up and then the airplane flipped over. The GC reported that the MD-11 had started to move "very slowly" during the time when the accident airplane's tail lifted up and rotated over.
The air traffic control manager stated that he and the GC were discussing what to do with the MD-11, and his perception was that the MD-11 had started to move at the time of the accident. He observed the local controller visually check the runway to make sure that the MD-11 had cleared the runway prior to issuing a landing clearance for the accident airplane, and that the local controller provided advisories to the accident airplane throughout the approach. During the landing rollout the tail of the accident airplane lifted up into the air three times. Each time the tail went up in the air it "got progressively worse until the airplane flipped over." The manager stated that the oscillations began after the accident airplane passed behind the MD-11.
The on-duty supervisor indicated that the accident airplane made a "tight, short approach." The base turn was right at the runway edge, and that the pilot made more of an "angled turn to final." The supervisor asked the local controller if he had intentionally turned the airplane in "like that [tight]." The local controller replied negatively.
Utilizing data provided from the Federal Aviation Administration approved flight manual for the accident airplane under the performance section, and the following conditions: standard sea level pressure and temperature, 2,100 pounds gross weight, and a 50-foot obstacle, the airplane's landing rollout should have been 445 feet. Utilizing a 2,650-pound gross weight, the landing rollout should have been 560 feet.