The student pilot of a Cessna Skyhawk survived a dramatic runway crash at Old Bridge, New Jersey, on Sunday, as he escaped the plane moments before it burst into flames. The whole thing is hard to watch, number one, because it’s an automated runway cam that reminds us all that people are still needed, and the site itself is busy and annoying. But the more important thing that’s hard to watch is the landing. The 172, flown by a solo student pilot, approaches to land in what appear to be twilight conditions, landing light on. The plane as it descends seems to be flying very slowly, with flaps extended.
But the initial landing is okay. The plane touches down, with a little bounce at the end. No big deal, right? Wrong. In this case the pilot chose to go around immediately after the little skip, and he immediately initiated a very steep climb at what seems, again, to be an unnaturally slow airspeed. Sure enough, the plane stalled (though the top of the stall is not captured by the automatic camera). It hit left wing first hard and did a half cartwheel before coming to rest in the grass aside the runway. Other pilots on frequency advise the young pilot to get out of the plane and run away from it, which fortunately, he was able to do. At least one good thing came of the incident.
The NTSB and FAA are investigating the crash.