ARCHER AERO LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N991A
NTSB Identification: GAA16CA243
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 13, 2016 in Crystal River, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/25/2016
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28, registration: N991A
Injuries: 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 student pilot reported that shortly after the airplane rotated during the takeoff, he noticed that the flaps were extended. He further reported that about 20 feet above the ground he retracted the flaps from 25 degrees to zero degrees, and simultaneously encountered wind that pushed the airplane towards the ground and left of centerline. Once the airplane settled on the ground, he attempted to correct back to the center of the runway, but reported that the airplane veered off the runway to the left and impacted a ditch.
A postaccident examination revealed substantial damage to the engine mount.
According to the student pilot there were no preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation.
A review of recorded data from the automated weather observation station located on the airport, revealed that, about 5 minutes after the accident the wind was 280 degrees true at 6 knots, wind gust 14 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, and sky clear. The airplane landed on runway 27.
The Federal Aviation Administration has published the Airplane Flying Handbook FAA-H-8083-3A (2004). This handbook discusses retraction of the flaps and states in part: Depending on the airplane's altitude and airspeed, it may be wise to retract the flaps intermittently in small increments to allow time for the airplane to accelerate progressively as they are being raised. A sudden and complete retraction of the flaps could cause a loss of lift resulting in the airplane settling into the ground.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The student pilot's failure to maintain directional control during the takeoff, which resulted in runway excursion and collision with a ditch. Contributing to the accident was the improper flap retraction procedure employed by the pilot during takeoff.