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Watch as Piper Malibu slams into snowbank at Courchevel Altiport

Watch as the pilot of thise Malibu Piper slams into a snowbank after being unable to bring the aircraft to a stop at Courchevel Altiport in the French Alps. ( More...

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My 2 cents is: tires don’t squeal on ice and he was hauling ass.
I'll give you one cent as most of the things way still looks dryish.
Holy typo hell. Most of the runway*
joel wiley 7
Somebody went skiing a little earlier than anticipated. Call this one a ski excursion.
I believe the pilot must have landed at least half way up the runway. I have landed there and while it is only 1750 ft as I recall, it is a very steep upgrade and he was going very fast as he came over the apex. Glad that nobody appears to have been hurt.
Tom Bruce 5
was a controller at So Lake Tahoe airport... 6200 feet elevation, 8600" runway... with storm approaching wind and turbulence over runway intense... Harrah's BAC111 landed in these conditions hit a snow berm and broke a wing.. Earl Scheib's son (I'll paint any car for $29.99) tried to land a Beech 18 under storm conditions... after porpoising on his first 2 attempts (then going around) he finally crashed into a snow bank on 3rd try.. nobody hurt in either accident... crash every 2 weeks in summer-downdrafts density altitude... mountain airports a challenge
Chris B 5
Stopping is always a problem when you carry too much speed.
alex hidveghy 4
And land long. On a notorious runway. You need to be “in the slot” or go-around. Simple.
Highflyer1950 4
Landed long and probably had a pretty high groundspeed at that elevation?
bbabis 9
Right seat, "We're a little high aren't WE?" Left seat, "Yeah, good thing we're fast."
s s 6
I would have just yanked on the parking brake to perform an instant 180, then firewalled the throttle thereby affecting reverse thrust to bring the plane to a gentle stop. Sounds legit.
Jerry Minor 3
That won't buff out.
bbabis 3
They're definitely F'd-GUYZ. The plane that flew them in is not going to fly them out.
themold 5
Better call MAACO!
sharon bias 3
This airport is always in the top 10 scariest airports to land at in travel articles, so I'm not surprised there was an accident. It's number 9 in this article.
Michal Novak 1
It wasn't at 11:30, it was at 11:17.
It wasn't only minor injuries, one passenger left on a stretcher in an ambulance.
The main problem was the plane landed about 200 m after touchdown mark, almost at the top, so the hill didn't slow it down at all. Major pilot's fault, but AFAIK there's no go-around.

It took a few minutes to someone from the airport staff even notice the "crash" - in Courchevel there's often nobody in the tower. Ambulance arrived after ~30 minutes, about the same time as heli ambulance (looked like Augusta to me). Police was already there at the time.

The following morning they craned the piper out of the snowbank and put it next to the hangars. I saw just crumpled engine conver and a few scratches, from the distance nothing serious. Can't tell what about e.g. engine and there was a lot of snow on the windscreen, so I can't tell if it was cracked.
I believe this to be a good assessment of what happened. You are correct THERE IS NO GO AROUND after about a 1/2 mile final as there is nowhere to go. The snowbank was a better and softer alternate than Alpine granite. It is a long and very windy road to the Altiport even from the village which would account for the delayed ambulance. I do not know how much help was available from the bar where the incident was videoed. 1750 ft is 533 meters and if he was 200m late to land he was as you suggest well up the hill.
Michal Novak 1
Yes, almost at the top of the hill. Standard procedures aside, I believe go around would be possible for them if the pilot instead of touching down went full throttle. He apparently flared too early and then flew in parallel with the runway, not losing any height, so IMO he had enough momentum not to stall.

He'd have to look hard for some Alpine granite though, it snowed quite a lot that week :-) They removed snow from the runway no more than 2 hours before the accident. He also went over a large patch of leftover snow when he tried to brake and went into the bank with "thump" sound, rather than "bang", so the bank was rather soft.
SootBox 1
Need a catch net.
joel wiley 1
It's called a snow drift. Natural and recyclable.
john doe 1
Good grief - wasn't even close. With the speed he was carrying, going around would've been a snap.
bbabis 2
Not at that airport. All departures are in the opposite direction for a very good reason. He was committed and accepted the slow speed contact with snow over a high speed contact with granite.
Duane Osman 1
How long before airbags in the passenger compartment?

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

joel wiley 5
Good that you are thinking... maybe.
The 'F' indicates that it is a French registration.
It may or may not be randomly selected.
If it was selected as you hypothesize, why would it be in English?
Perhaps this indicates more about your thought processes than the owners,
btweston 5
You don’t seem to have a whole lot of respect for women.
Beta reverse is very effective. Was this being used?
This one appears to be piston powered. Only turbine powered models have beta.
He was just too fast. Speed control is paramount on short runway, especially if at higher elevations.
David K Young 1
I own a Malibu Mirage, which the article stated this was a Mirage. It's a piston, 350 horse Lycoming engine. When flight planning I tell ForeFlight to look for airports with at least 3000 feet of runway. I can easily land within 2000 in normal conditions. I've got 2300 hours in my logbook and can put my Malibu on the numbers most of the time. But this wasn't normal with snow and ice on the runway. I'd never attempt it in a Malibu. They eat a lot of runway unless all the numbers are right.
Your Mirage and my Columbia 400 prolly operate about the same. 2000’ not a problem most times. I would say that day was not a good day for either plane to attempt it.
David K Young 1
Absolutely. It appeared to me he didn't have full flaps either, but not sure. Looked to be only about 20 degrees, but hard to tell. I always land with full flaps.
Maybe he landed with full and dumped them to get more weight on the wheels. But given this lame attempt I doubt it. Lol
Cansojr 1
Good point WALLACE24. As I understand that this airport requires landing training with an instructor. Courcheval demands a check ride to certify the qualifications lo land at this airport. You cannot just show-up and land. The Air Traffic authorities will deny you clearance to land. It really requires a turboprop to operate in an out the runway from hell.
alex hidveghy 3
Yes, even airline pilots require total familiarity and a check ride I n to difficult airports.
One I recall was Madeira(sp?) Funchal. There are many others. You gotta know what you’re doing.. it’s not a game.
Funchal is challenging but no comparison to Courchevel. Check out St Barts and Saba in the Caribbean. Saba is 1300 ft and has about 5 Twin Otter flights a day, as does St Barts. Ride of a life time!
I know nothing about the airport except what was in the post. It said 1750’. Red flag 1. I don’t know the elevation but surrounding terrain suggests not near sea level. Red flag 2. Red flag 3 is some runway contamination. We all know the difference between ias and tas at altitude.
I have a twin turbo single engine piston. Wouldn’t even consider it at light weight.
I’m sure you are spot on. Don’t know what the pilot was thinking especially if he had the training.
Runway is 1750ft as stated. Elevation is 6600 ft. I flew in and out with a local instructor. One of my bucket list items! Incredible experience and I would do it again (supervised). What is not shown is a large wall of granite behind the snow bank that is about 60 ft (~20m) high. The runway has a 18 deg slope. TO downhill, Land uphill regardless of wind direction. Check out some YouTube videos. Safe if you are well trained and a cautious pilot.


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