- Rank 5
- Posts: 308
- Joined: Sat Feb 28, 2004 6:44 pm
- Location: Further..further...ok, too far...
Took off pretty close to MTOW in a PA-31-350. Flew about an hour to ZFD.
There had been freezing rain the previous week and everything was still pretty damn slippery. Enough so that people had slipped off the runway turning around after back-tracking, or slid on taxi-ways. ZFD is not known for high quality airport maintainence either, and the gravel they put down was barely adequate, I'd landed there in the morning following a favorable pirep and hadda use most of the 3800' available.
OK during decent we picked up moderate ice which didn't completely shed. Few miles back selected flaps 15, planning straight in, they came out a twitch and stopped, turned out later that a limit switch was frozen.
So now I was a little bit stressed because I was going to be hot and the runway was so slippery. I decided to continue straight in and just make sure I stayed short and kept it as slow as I could.
On 1/2 mile final the a/c was low on the glide path, I hesitated to add power (stage cooling and ego in equal measure I guess) and then added it when the airspeed started to drop 1/4 back.
Long story short: I really really dragged that thing in the last 1/4 mile; right over the lights I started the flare. The SECOND I pulled back there was a sharp buffet and the a/c dropped like a brick. Just a rough landing in the end.
I've played that over in my head quite a bit since then because I figure I wasn't more than 2 or 3 knots above a stall for the last 1/4 mile at least. It isn't exactly airmanship I'm real proud of either. But I figure the lesson is pretty straight forward: I was so fixated on keeping the landing roll short that I only briefly and inadequately considered what my SAFE speed should be. I never even considered a different arrival that would give a little more time to sort out my situation.
Actually I think being in a hurry was probably one of the major ultimate causes, and I notice that whenever I miss or forget things in any walk of life, it's when I'm rushing around. So I have really since then tried to not ever hurry when flying: show up earlier, be more prepared, and, when delays happen anyway, too bad, I'm still not gonna go any faster.
Anyway, that's when I nearly crashed and died...