Displaced Threshold A Factor In Collision Between 182 And Pickup


Canada’s Transportation Safety Board says its final report on a collision between a Cessna 182 and pickup truck earlier this year is a lesson in respect for displaced thresholds. The 182 plowed into the roof and windshield of a municipal works pickup in the Vancouver suburb of Langley on May 2. According to the report the 182 was perfectly lined up for the beginning of the paved threshold of Runway 25 at Langley Municipal Airport when it should have been 30 feet higher and headed for the beginning of the actual runway 343 feet from the impact point. “Runway thresholds are often displaced to ensure that the approach slope is clear of obstacles,” the TSB said in a “Safety Message” at the end of the report instead of a probable cause assessment. “Therefore, it is important that pilots aim to touch down beyond the displaced threshold to help maintain obstacle clearance.”

The 182 was on local flight with a pilot and passenger onboard when the accident occurred. The truck was traveling south on a public road beside the perimeter fence when the aircraft hit it, taking out the windshield and peeling back the roof. The driver was not seriously hurt. The plane continued through the fence and ended up in a ditch where the displaced threshold begins. The passenger was able to get out himself but needed help to get the more seriously injured pilot out. The wreck was consumed by fire soon after the two got out. The TSB noted the pilot had installed four-point restraints in the plane and credited them with preventing more serious injuries. It also gave a nod to the bystanders who jumped in to help immediately.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.


  1. Come on guys, we can do better than this. I feel worse about the Cessna than the pilots, and I like pilots.

    • The story states that the 2 occupants were a ” pilot and…a passenger.”
      ” Pilot “; as in singular.
      Come on, Dexter, you can do better than ….

      That !


      Stay on the correct glide slope and know thy VASI / PAPI


    • I don’t think this is necessarily a CFI issue. It could be but it could also be degrading of skills or a hazardous attitude towards markings. Or a combination of all

  2. Other take home messages are that good restraints are worth the investment as an upgrade for older planes without shoulder belts, and that it can take some time for the plane to ignite so get the fuel and electrical off and get out and away as soon as possible.

    • Four-point seat restraints are a relatively inexpensive and easy upgrade to just about any legacy airframe. If you haven’t already installed them, make that a New Year’s resolution.

      • And, they are actually quicker and easier to get out of than a traditional aircraft seat belt. Just twist the round restraint release that is front and center by your belt buckle. All 4 release at the same time.

        We installed them in a 1972 Bonanza. It was a quick and easy job for our A&P/AI.

  3. I disagree with the findings.
    “Runway thresholds are often displaced to ensure that the approach slope is clear of obstacles,”
    That may be the case, as it is with San Diego Lindbergh Field (parking structure in the way, so they have a displaced threshold). But a pilot’s obligation is to land within the runway perimeter, and that starts at the threshold.
    This airport has a displaced threshold, but the runway seems to start close to the public road. Pilots perform an approach based on the visual appearance of the runway, and upon seeing that it has a displaced threshold may need to add a little power to extend the descent portion. The pilot did the right thing by complying with the displaced threshold requirement. The real error is allowing the municipality to have a public road so close to a runway approach.