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It has been a couple of months since this incident and I still can't believe that A, I got away with it and B, that I was foolish enough to listen to a very experienced pilot and not check something out for myself. The incident happened when half the county was under water and although we had had some wet days we had not had any rain that last week.

We have an east/west runway that is advertised in all the normal places that you would expect. What is not advertised is that we have a very short, part grass and part concrete runway that is north/south. This is only ever used by a few pilots that aircraft is able to land short and then only if the wind is quite strong from the North.

I had been flying out of this strip for three years, having carried out all of my basic training there and then a couple of years in a 150 group. I was very current at the time having 56 hours when I passed my GFT and now, two years later, with almost three hundred hours total.

On this particular day the wind was from the north at around 15 knots. I had flown some circuits on the normal runway and practiced a few wing down cross wind landings. I put the aircraft in the hangar and went in for lunch. The most experienced member of the group has over 2000 hours on the aircraft and often used the north/south grass runway. I said to him that, as the wind was from the the North I would like to go and try the short grass runway. He said that he had been over there that very morning and that I would be fine.

So after lunch I, now with a friend on board, went up to try the short grass runway. 40 degree flaps are required and a very steep approach, with a drop over the telegraph wires just before the threshold and flare at the right point to get her stopped in time. Although I was a bit left of the center line all worked out well. I did not need to touch the brakes and that should have told me something.

This runway was for too short to get a 150 off with two people on board and fuel so I taxied to the main runway and took off for another go. I must get myself more centered on the runway I told myself whilst doing the downwind checks.

I lined up on final, full flaps, over the wires, flare, keep the nose up and......... well that's where the Luck Gods were with me. The center of the runway was saturated, the main wheels sunk in to their axles and pulled the nose wheel down violently. The nose wheel ploughed in and I dug three trenches. We were hard against our seat belts and stopped within a matter of feet.

When I drove round to look afterward I could not believe how deep the three trenches were. With the nose wheel ollio fully compressed and the wheels in 6" deep trenches the propeller was within millimeters of a prop strike.

It was just shear fluke that I did not shock load the engine or, far worst, nose over to the inverted and having to escape. And all this because I did not get in my car and drive round to the other side of the airfield and walk a runway that, to my knowledge, no one had landed on this year. Although the grass had been cut that week.

What a ****! As it happens I got away with it, but only just. Bit of mud washing to do but that was all. I could so easily have avoided what was the closest I had come to an accident since I have been flying. I trusted someone based on their knowledge of both the aircraft and the airfield and that was stupid when I could so easily of checked my self. And please don't think I blame him one bit. The part of the runway that he was on was probably fine. My fault entirely so if I can help just one person by making them stop and think and go check out something for themselves rather than rely on others opinions then my mistake would have helped.
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By Charles Hunt
I was just thinking 'Are we all flying perfectly?' as there had been no new entries for a while.

As always thanks for your honesty. If it helps someone for example possibly thinking of a trip to a small island in the Bristol channel without walking the strip first then it is worthwhile.