Plane Overshoots Runway on Carribean Island

Screen shot 2011-05-12 at 9.41.18 PM

This one’s been circulating around the web for a week now. On May 31, a piston twin ran off the 2,100 foot runway in St. Barthelemy Airport (SBH) in the Carribean. What makes this video so interesting, aside from the surfer-dude commentary, is that the pilot opted not to go around even after floating for nearly three fourths of the runway.

When should you execute a go around? As one of my first flight instructors said: go missed anytime the approach does not look perfect. Seriously now, increase power and go around if there is any doubt in your mind as to the safety of your upcoming landing. Continue on to the video.


Chair fly this approach and tell me, at what point would you have chosen to add power and go around?


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About the author
Pat Flannigan is a professional pilot and aviation blogger. He has been flying for fifteen years and is currently working as an airline pilot in the United States.

21 Replies to Plane Overshoots Runway on Carribean Island

  1. I love the commentary from the cameraman!

    Looking at how close the threshold markings are (the thousand footers on either side of the runway) I’d say it’s a relatively short runway.

    After passing the first set of thousand foot marks and noticing my airspeed was still considerably fast, that to me would have been grounds for a go-around.

    -Jason

    • Yeah, I mean who says “that kinda blows” after a plane crash! I think I would have gone around right at the first 1000 foot marker (which look suspiciously closer to 500′ than 1000′).

  2. I would’ve gone around at some point before crashing the airplane. Seriously though, this an excellent article and video, I don’t even have to add any instructional wisdom, the video says it all. I used to tell my students right before soloing them, “if you crash this plane I’m gonna kick your ass!” So if I were this guy’s instructor I would kick his ass.

  3. I think you have to have planned for this short field landing. It obviously is a complicated approach with the hill then the short runway that surely the pilot knew what he was getting into. Part of that thought process should be a plan that if you are not wheels down and braking in the first third of the runway you immediately execute the go-around.

    Thanks for sharing the video. You seldom get such great video footage (well the commentary was not great) of something like this.

  4. Paul says:

    There are 3 other things interesting about this airport.

    1) The ICAO for this airport is TFFJ the IATA code is SBH. So if your flying there commercially use SBH, if your the pilot tell your handler you are going to TFFJ.

    2) In order to land there you have to have a logbook endorsement from an instructor who is approved the French Civil Aviation. Which begs the question, was this guy endorsed or even better was there an instructor with him?

    3) The beach at the end of that runway is topless! (I saved the best for last)

  5. kelly says:

    The question of go around should have come up BEFORE the pilot crested the hill. He/she was way too high then, wich translated to the same on short final and floating halfway down the runway.

    This pilot has either a large ego or exhibits extremely poor judgement – either one should be left for those to fly from their computer with a joystick.

  6. Greg Park says:

    Were there any serious injuries sustained by passengers aboard the plane?

  7. Marty says:

    I have been a pilot for 23 years, and am stunned seeing that video.
    How did the pilot not realize he was going too fast, for such a short runway.
    Hell that was too fast for a long runway.
    You keep track of your airspeed the entire approach, or at least i DO.
    That was a clear missed approach before he reached the threshold.
    Not only was he too fast and too high, but all pilot know that once you make the transition into ground effect when trying to land, that you suddenly have a lot of extra lift.
    The pilot finally tried to force the plane onto the ground, which is dumb.
    You flare, and let it slowly bleed off speed, and when its out of lift it gently settles onto to the runway.
    I routinely fly into and out of a strip just 1600 feet long, and always have lots of room left once stopped.

  8. Xavier says:

    Whatever you say abaout the pilot, but this app @ rwy really scares me !!!

  9. Davis Hunt says:

    “That kinda blows” indeed. I think when you’re 50% of the way down the usable runway with sand and water at the end, it’s time to execute a go-around. The SBH is TOUGH because you have to basically follow the terrain down. I’ve been in there right seat in a DHC6 – Twin Otter and you really have to plant the landing in the first 100 feet or go around – period.

  10. Scott Shea says:

    Clearly there was some bad decision making going on, but I am curious if he was simply TOO SLOW (VMCA) to initiat the go-around and had to get the wheels on the deck. Countering my own questioning, clearly, the skid marks are contrary to my questioning, but there is a point that even when your airborne and you’re in that ground effect, you’ve got to be really careful on a go around with a twin.
    This does not appear to be the case here, but I just thought it should be brought up.

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  12. Pilot Salary says:

    This flight should not even have made it to the runway threshold without a go round being initiated. It is pretty obvious to me that the approach speed was too high which can be seen by the distance the aircraft floated for. Airspeed is one of the critical elements of a stabilised approach. If your airspeed is too high at a certain point on final, go around and try it again.

  13. fred rebarber says:

    This accident was by the owner of Air America out of Puerto Rico. The owner has a large ego. His name is Fred Rebarber. He is the world’s best pilot, for those of you who don’t know.

  14. fred rebarber says:

    This accident was by the owner of Air America out of Puerto Rico. The owner has a large ego. His name is Fred Rebarber. He is the world’s best pilot, for those of you who don’t know. No instructor was on board. Even if an instructor had been on board, Fred Rebarber is the best pilot he knows, owner of a company, after all.

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