Saturday, May 31, 2014

Cessna 172F Skyhawk, N8394U: Accident occurred May 31, 2014 in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania

NTSB Identification: ERA14CA278
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, May 31, 2014 in Mount Pleasant, PA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/02/2014
Aircraft: CESSNA 172F, registration: N8394U
Injuries: 1 Minor, 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot stated that the preflight and engine run-up were satisfactory prior to the departure from the 1,641 foot long grass runway; the grass was a little high (estimated to be 5 to 6 inches) and soft due to rain from earlier that week. He consulted the POH and confirmed no flaps for the takeoff. After the engine run-up he taxied onto runway 32 and with the flaps retracted, applied full throttle noting 2,200 rpm, then released the brakes; the wind was from the northwest at 3 to 5 knots. He did not begin the takeoff roll utilizing soft field takeoff procedure of aft control input but did as the takeoff roll continued; later reporting that he "probably didn't initially have the yoke back enough." After a little more than ½ way down the runway at an airspeed less than 50 mph, he aborted the takeoff. Unable to stop, the airplane impacted a guard rail at the end of the runway causing the airplane to nose over. He further stated that there was no preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. He did state in the Recommendation Section of the submitted NTSB Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident/Incident report that the accident might have been prevented by better assessment of the conditions/effects of the grass (softness) and length of the runway, and to either not initiate takeoff or abort sooner. He also indicated that the accident might have been prevented if, "…a perfect soft/short field technique was used."

Postaccident inspection of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration airworthiness inspector revealed substantial damage to the right wing spar and structure adjacent to the left main landing gear attach point. Another FAA inspector reported no obstructions at the departure end of runway 32.

A review of the airplane Owner's Manual indicates 0 flap extension is specified for normal and maximum performance takeoff; however, 10 degrees of flaps is specified to be used for minimum ground runs or for takeoff from soft or rough fields with no obstacles ahead. The takeoff performance chart does not indicate distances for grass runway. Excerpts of the Owner's Manual are contained in the NTSB public docket.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's incorrect takeoff procedures from the soft grass runway and his delay in aborting the takeoff after recognizing slow acceleration.

A plane crash onto power lines at Mt. Pleasant and Scottdale Airport in Bullskin Township left one man with minor injuries on Saturday.

Pilot Dave Bayless was able to climb out of the gully where the plane had come to rest upside-down. He was airlifted to UPMC Presbyterian, according to emergency workers at the scene. According to a hospital representative, he was released without being treated.

The plane's owner, Arvin Daniels of Youngwood, was in the plane and was uninjured.

Daniels had hoped to take his Cessna 172F Skyhawk out for a flight on a sunny afternoon.

The plane didn't get up to speed while attempting to lift off from the airport's short, grass runway, Daniels said. Bayless attempted to stop the plane, but it hit a guide rail and crashed upside down into a gully, landing on some power lines about 12:30 p.m.

“We aborted takeoff, hit the guard rail and flipped,” Daniels said.

The gully is across the narrow street that leads to the airport.

“If we had been going 10 to 15 miles faster, we wouldn't even be having this conversation,” Daniels said.

He remained cheerful despite the crash, grateful that nobody was seriously hurt.

“It's just one of those things that happens,” he said. “That's why they call it an accident.”

The extent of the damage to the plane was unknown.

Officials from several power companies were called to the scene to examine the power lines.

Plans were to lift the plane from the gully onto a flatbed truck using a crane.

An official from the Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the cause of the crash.

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