Stunning Nose Gear Collapse Caught on Video


This sobering video from Tucson, AZ shows a nose gear collapse in a Remos G3. The accident occurred during a training flight with a student pilot at the controls. After flying a high approach, the aircraft lands hard, appears to bounce, then the nose gear collapses. According to the student pilot’s remarks, the airplane stalled prior to touch down, but I don’t buy it.

What really went wrong?

First off, this airplane did not stall. According to Remos, the G3 600 has a power-off stall speed of 45 mph and power-on stall speed of 49 mph. Just prior to impact, the airspeed indicator shows a speed just over 50 mph. Of course, stall is based on angle-of-attack and the actual speed at which an airplane stalls will vary. In this case, the pilot is in ground effect and is below max gross weight, both factors lowering the speed at which the wing will stall. Furthermore, there is a notable absence of a stall warning (edit – according to commenters, there is no stall horn on the Remos), which ought to have been blaring had a stall actually occurred.

The real problem lies in the flair. As the airplane enters ground effect, the pilot lifts the nose and balloons. He then overcorrects by pushing the nose over, generally a bad idea, and flies the airplane into the ground.

An extreme nose-low attitude right after the bounce.

Next, the airplane bounces, and this is where it gets real ugly. As the plane lifts into the air, the pilot pushes the nose way down. Just look at that pitch attitude prior to the second touch-down! As promised, the nose gear collapses and the beautiful LSA suffers some scrapes and a prop-strike.

Let this be a reminder to land with your nose up, and if the approach doesn’t look good, please go-around. This is also a sobering reminder as to why flight instructors have to be on guard all of the time.

Please post your thoughts in the comments section below.

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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.

31 Replies to Stunning Nose Gear Collapse Caught on Video

  1. Carlos A Rodriguez says:

    During my first flight, I was coming down through 1500ft on approach around 70 knots in a 172 when something similar happened where the plane literally dropped about 150 ft with no indication of stall. My Instructor told me that we hit a layer of sudden wind change and pressure that essential brought the airspeed over the wings to zero fairly quickly. It was pretty windy that day so I can believe a sudden wind gust from the tail. Later he also showed me a strange way to cross-control the aircraft to drop rapidly without losing forward airspeed although I don’t think the video showed this. I’m an aerospace senior graduating this December and based on what I saw in the video a sudden tailwind actually could have stalled the aircraft and the reason the airspeed indicated a higher airspeed may be due to the sudden descent rate and angle of attack. A little math may be needed to be sure and if I am right I’ll post another reply later this week.

  2. GertBreed says:

    I have looked at the approach and stall over and over and I think that this could have been a sudden change in wind direction and / or temp change and lastly obviously a change in pressure from whatever caused this to happen. That was quite a fall too. Do you have a METAR for that day? What position was the flaps set to? Also, (im sorry for all the questions) How long were you flying? (Fuel used) It seems and this is just speculation, that it was a hot day (not cold) you are 2000 ft msl maybe a bit heavier that usual and have more fuel in than normal. Flaps not set? Stall speed at that temp and ALT and weight go up from 45 Mph to 50 mph? Your AOA changes suddenly and you had some wind. All this put together could explain the “STALL” . What do you think?

  3. BAB says:

    Real easy if you fly much the plane was not flaired was driven into the runway nose first. Thats it the instructor did not take the controls and prevent the problem, the pilot in comand let the A/C drift to the left too far. It did not stall in any way, to the fellow who was shown that funny way to do things its called slipping I do hope that you learn more about flying before you do much more, read books get a better instructor or something. I have seen many planes over the years bounced and the nose gear folded up, all it takes is holding some back pressure on the controls and waiting for it to settle down or add power and go around not sitting there like a lump of coal waiting for it to end badly this was one of the first things about landing that I was taught in an old C150 at BFI Seattle where you could get jet blast to wind shift at any time.

  4. Jim says:

    Darwin is alive and well.

  5. Tim G in MN says:

    I think the instructor was telling the student with his finger pointing/waving that the horizon should be on the dashboard edge. Looked too low and drove it into the ground (just like the Cessna ads claimed in the 1970’s!)

  6. SJ says:

    I think BAB may have it right. Right before it dives it looks like you put the plane into a turn, turns take lift (do a lesson on stalls in a turn and you’ll see what I mean; it lowers the stall speed a fair amount). We can’t see what is going on with your feet but if you add opposite rudder you’ll do what’s called a slip and that will cause the plane to stall. Rigt before it dives the plane appears to be uncoordinated to the right. Personally I wonder if it was direct pressure on the front landing gear or side pressure. With that much speed and hitting at an angle will cause some pretty nasty things to happen.

    If things look bad or not quite right then throttle is your friend go around and enjoy a little more flying time. It looks like the landing was forced.

    I’m glad no one got hurt!

  7. SJ says:

    Actually looking at the gear collapsed to the side I’m willing to put money on side pressure on the gear… Makes me glad I’m not flying one of those…

  8. G FOWLER says:

    think your all reading too much into this…bottom line,hard touch down,porpoised and crunch.
    Mr Flannigan is correct, Flair! Flair! Flair!

    Mr Carlos Rodriguez,please get a new instructor…CROSS CONTROL??? as BAB say’s “slipping”.
    has your instructor mentioned “crabbing” to you? and no it’s not jumping in the trowler and putting cages over the side of vessel for the daily catch. no offense sir, but need to hit the books harder and maybe time for a different instructor…SAFETY FIRST!

  9. Mike says:

    Well done on all the calculations and investigations… but I think you’ll find that the real cause was pushing forward on the stick after a bounce that drove the nosewheel into the ground… seen it a few time with things like C152/C172 etc, except for them it usually happens on the third or forth bounce.

    And the PIC was the instructor and as such is responsible for the safe operation of the aircraft, so the ultimate responsibility is his… that’s why he’s the instructor and you’re the student.

    I’d actually go so far as to say that it was poor instructional technique to have his hand on the top of the dash rather than closer to the joystick ready to take control if needed (as it was!).

  10. Carlos says:

    I own a REMOS G-3, it is a very special airplane, It is very light and subject to light wind effects.
    The G-3 has a very thick wing (changed on the new GTX) that wants to Fly, not land.
    Therefore it takes precise control of Airspeed to bring it down gently (on the mains).
    There is NO stall warning horn as the writer implies.
    Many LS instructors have said LS requires more precision control than standard GA planes.
    Practice, Practice and Practice with a very expeienced instructor.

    • Thanks for pointing out the Remos’ lack of a stall horn – I’ll add that to the post. And you’re right, I’ve flown a number of LSA’s and they are really sensitive — almost twitchy on the controls. You need a lot more precision, which makes me wonder if we really should start new guys out on these airplanes.

  11. Tony S says:

    I think the approach looked too high from the very start of the video. I think a go-around was in order.

    Only my humble opinion.

  12. Tony S says:

    Reading these comments I’d like to add that a forward slip to landing may be appropriate on final approach for some aircraft, but once you’ve crossed the thresh-hold, if you need to slip, you should go-around.

    Again, just my opinion, but less humble this time.

  13. Davis says:

    In my experience, aircraft being flown at Vso don’t balloon during flare, unless there is a wind shear. Even if you adjust the stall speed to below max gross and adjust down to the single digit. The pilot clearly pushes the nose over during the ballooning.

    Now practically, have we all lowered the nose during ballooning, sure. Have I ever done it flying something the size of a large mosquito; no. From the standpoint of design, I recognize the tradeoff for a more substantial landing gear versus weight on LS aircraft. That being said, the LS industry seems to be creating a lot of aircraft that have to be flown to within very small margins, theoretically creating a contradiction with the skill level of the average LS pilot. I don’t like to generalize, but I think the shoe fits here. Some small aircraft require tremendous handling precision. I’ve lost two friends flying Lancair’s in short final stalls.

    The bottom line is this is a training issue. If the LS manufacturers are going to produce aircraft that need to be flown with the precision of the Concord, a proper initial and recurrent training program needs to be implemented. Fundamentally, I still don’t see the value of the separate LS certifications. I understand these folks want to fly, but sometimes reality doesn’t support every desire.

  14. John says:

    I hate to be the outlier in this blog but the approach, while a bit steep, looked fine to me. As did the pilots inputs on contacting the runway. I didnt see anything unusual in the response to the flare etc. My conclusion is that the landing gear on this plane is very deficient, not being able to take the normal stress of landing. I would seriously reconsider purchasing this airplane based on this video. I think we all hope our equipment is over engineered to some extent to accomodate the unexpected and be sturdy enough to weather a less than perfect flair.

  15. SH says:

    This accident started in the traffic pattern. The aircraft was too high and too fast over the threshold. As a result, the pilot had too much airspeed to bleed off in the flair. By my calculation, the airplane touched down 2500 ft down the runway. I routinely have my 172RG stopped 1000 ft past the threshold, and its recommended approach speed is 14 knots faster. Sure, he could have floated down the runway another 500 feet and touched down at the right airspeed, but you’re setting up for disaster if at the threshold you’re at 200 ft agl diving for the runway.

    Reading the pilot’s responses on Youtube is disheartening. He convinced himself that the aircraft stalled in level, unaccelerated flight at 53 knots. It’s just not possible.

    • Jason P says:

      Your comment is exactly correct. There was no stall, and this instructor should have had the student go around. Imagine this was a forced landing on a rural strip, he’d overshoot the entire runway based on this approach alone.

  16. Bravo3 says:

    Everything about this approach screams WRONG — GO AROUND!

    He was way too high. The sight picture was terrible. He wasn’t anywhere near the numbers and looked to be nearly halfway out of runway before finally leveling off. He was clearly diving to the runway and had terrible energy management on final — way too fast — often at the high end of the white arc (~80mph).

    And then, as he flew in ground effect like a scalded dog he was not able to balance that very delicate line between slamming into the ground or ballooning off into the stratosphere. Coming in hot and high sucks. Been there not done that (prang the plane).

    IMHO, the instructor should have had the stick in hand while ordering a go-around.

  17. Steve_CO says:

    I did not see any stall either. The attitude looks good when he was into the upper ground effect, but I think I see the nose pushed down before the first touch, then bounced and pushed the nose down even more.
    I have also pushed the nose down to force a landing while learning, but the one time i bounced a little I tempered it with a touch of throttle and re leveling the plane/sight picture.
    Live and learn

  18. 10ECBob says:

    Instructor asleep at the wheel

  19. Barreto, A. says:

    The aircraft did not stall. It fell from the sky after a battle with the rudder. Look at the turn coordinator just bellow the ASI. You could loose lift close to the ground in turbulent conditions but that does not mean that you have to crash. But when you battle with the rudder (connected with the nose wheel) and the distance between the main gear and the nose wheel is short, you are heading for trouble. Remember: If you are not happy with the approach (cross winds, turbulence, gusts, heat from the runway), go around…next time will be better.

  20. chris r says:

    You didn’t flare. The airplane touched down hard with the nose level (or down), smacked into the runway whereupon you lowered the nose and it smacked again and collapsed the nose gear.
    As an aside, years ago I was learning to instruct in a T-38. My IP constantly harped about my touchdown speed because I’d never bothered including that in my crosscheck once I started my flare. His challenge, was to get my speed as low as possible when my mains touched the runway. The book says touchdown’s at 135KIAS when light, but I’m proud to say I’ve gotten it down as low as 133 several times. Start including a/s in your crosscheck at the flare and you’ll be surprised how many ‘grease’ jobs you’ll get.

  21. Delta_v says:

    1.2 seconds is actually a pretty long time. Certainly long enough to recognize what was happening and add a little power, instead of pushing the nose over.

  22. Tiger Driver says:

    My babble..

    Look, at some level I want to pile on with the others. But this is very simple: The instructor is the PIC. One of my best instructors over the years ALWAYS keeps his hand right next to the yoke on every landing with every pilot. Doing a BFR with a 5K hr. Multi-engine guy… I bet he keeps his hand just next to the yoke on every landing. The instructor is always PIC; the student is allowed to manipulate the controls. Student goes the wrong way with the controls or over drives; the PIC is at fault. Gotta teach that stuff at altitude where margin is greater.

    I own and fly a plane that people say is hard to land. The trick to it is simple, speed and pitch. If it doesnt look right on downwind– I give myself three strikes… Here are my strikes:
    1. Not right on Downwind leg- Extend the downwind and fix it before base turn (fast, low, high, slow can all be seen)
    2. Get the decent rate stable on base- VFR no terrain that is 500 feet/min EXACTLY- if not on speed and on decent on base then use your turn to final to stop the decent- throttle up and do it again. Sidestep the runway too!
    3. On final- only small corrections should be made, if you find yourself off by more than a tiny bit- get out and go flying (called a go around). Remember you can do everything right on all the other phases of landing but for many reasons, you may still do a do around at final.

    A couple of other pointers that help me.., when I am abeam on downwind, I pick a decision spot,,,, if I am not solidly down on the mains by …. then I will go around. This is iron clad. I have used this on runways from 1700 to 15k and its idiot proof. Even on 15K runways, I will do a go around if I dont land in the first third… why… because it minimizes decision. Minimizing decision means you wont make the wrong one. GA pilots are often weekenders, and complexity and decision making will always be our challenge.
    Practice go arounds— purposefully come in a little high or fast on downwind, keep the speed up through base and then see what it look like. I call it bad learning.. Learn what bad is… so your brain learns right from wrong.

    Lastly- for new pilots- landing is a gliding contest in which you drain old man physics of all energy before touchdown. Steal everything you can from Mr. Newton (or any other pencil neck) its your money… As you steal that energy,slowly reduce pressure, as you glide back to earth. We all make mistakes, sorry your instructor was not close enough “at hand” to pull you back from the brink. Hope you get back in the air soon.

  23. Pilot Salary says:

    Picking a decision spot on the runway to go around if touchdown hasn’t occurred is fine however I believe making a decision point on final will negate that. For example I will choose a decision height of 200ft agl, by reaching this height on final I need to be completely stabilised. I am aligned on the runway centreline, I am on speed or very close to it, I am in the final landing configuration (flaps and gear) and the aircraft is stabilised (not sideslipping for example). If all these factors are considered then the aircraft should touch down at the correct point on the runway.

  24. Cook says:

    No Video, at least this week… If it is not there, perhaps the post ought to me modified or deleted. As written it does not mean much without the video – ‘ya know…

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