Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Champion 7ECA Citabria, N9682S: Accident occurred July 30, 2017 at Pittsburgh-Butler Regional Airport (KBTP), Pennsylvania

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Location: Butler, PA
Accident Number: GAA17CA462
Date & Time: 07/30/2017, 1030 EDT
Registration: N9682S
Aircraft: CHAMPION 7ECA
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control on ground
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

Analysis 

The pilot of the tailwheel-equipped airplane reported that, during the landing roll in crosswind conditions, while correcting to maintain the runway centerline, the "upwind wing lifted," and the airplane swerved off the runway to the left. During the runway excursion, the left wing lift strut impacted a runway sign.

The left wing sustained substantial damage.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

An automated weather observation station at the accident airport reported, about the time of the accident, wind from 150° at 3 knots. The pilot reported that the landing was on runway 8. 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to maintain directional control during the landing roll in crosswind conditions. 

Findings

Aircraft
Directional control - Not attained/maintained (Cause)

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)

Environmental issues
Sign/marker - Contributed to outcome
Crosswind - Effect on operation

Factual Information

History of Flight

Landing-landing roll
Other weather encounter
Loss of control on ground (Defining event)
Runway excursion
Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT) 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age:62, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 06/02/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 09/01/2016
Flight Time: (Estimated) 1284 hours (Total, all aircraft), 30 hours (Total, this make and model), 1180 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 35 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 14 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: CHAMPION
Registration: N9682S
Model/Series: 7ECA NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1966
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Aerobatic; Normal
Serial Number: 469
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 08/02/2016, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1650 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 2247 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91  installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-235-c1
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 115 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KBTP, 1248 ft msl
Observation Time: 1435 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 0°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 22°C / 16°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 3 knots, 150°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting:30.14 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: FRANKLIN, PA (FKL)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Butler, PA (BTP)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1000 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: BUTLER COUNTY/K W SCHOLTER FIE (BTP)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 1248 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 08
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 4801 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop; Traffic Pattern 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 40.776667, -79.951111 (est)

Preventing Similar Accidents  

Stay Centered: Preventing Loss of Control During Landing

Loss of control during landing is one of the leading causes of general aviation accidents and is often attributed to operational issues. Although most loss of control during landing accidents do not result in serious injuries, they typically require extensive airplane repairs and may involve potential damage to nearby objects such as fences, signs, and lighting.

Often, wind plays a role in these accidents. Landing in a crosswind presents challenges for pilots of all experience levels. Other wind conditions, such as gusting wind, tailwind, variable wind, or wind shifts, can also interfere with pilots’ abilities to land the airplane and maintain directional control.

What can pilots do?

Evaluate your mental and physical fitness before each flight using the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) “I'M SAFE Checklist." Being emotionally and physically ready will help you stay alert and potentially avoid common and preventable loss of control during landing accidents.

Check wind conditions and forecasts often. Take time during every approach briefing to fully understand the wind conditions. Use simple rules of thumb to help (for example, if the wind direction is 30 degrees off the runway heading, the crosswind component will be half of the total wind velocity).

Know your limitations and those of the airplane you are flying. Stay current and practice landings on different runways and during various wind conditions. If possible, practice with a flight instructor on board who can provide useful feedback and techniques for maintaining and improving your landing procedures.

Prepare early to perform a go around if the approach is not stabilized and does not go as planned or if you do not feel comfortable with the landing. Once you are airborne and stable again, you can decide to attempt to land again, reassess your landing runway, or land at an alternate airport. Incorporate go-around procedures into your recurrent training.

During landing, stay aligned with the centerline. Any misalignment reduces the time available to react if an unexpected event such as a wind gust or a tire blowout occurs.

Do not allow the airplane to touch down in a drift or in a crab. For airplanes with tricycle landing gear, do not allow the nosewheel to touch down first.

Maintain positive control of the airplane throughout the landing and be alert for directional control difficulties immediately upon and after touchdown. A loss of directional control can lead to a nose-over or ground loop, which can cause the airplane to tip or lean enough for the wing tip to contact the ground.

Stay mentally focused throughout the landing roll and taxi. During landing, avoid distractions, such as conversations with passengers or setting radio frequencies.

Interested in More Information?

The FAA’s “Airplane Flying Handbook” (FAA-H-8083-3B), chapter 8, “Approaches and Landings,” provides guidance about how to conduct crosswind approaches and landings and discusses maximum safe crosswind velocities. The handbook can be accessed from the FAA’s website (www.faa.gov).

The FAA Safety Team (FAASTeam) provides access to online training courses, seminars, and webinars as part of the FAA’s “WINGS—Pilot Proficiency Program.” This program includes targeted flight training designed to help pilots develop the knowledge and skills needed to achieve flight proficiency and to assess and mitigate the risks associated with the most common causes of accidents, including loss of directional control. The courses listed below can be accessed from the FAASTeam website (www.faasafety.gov).

Avoiding Loss of Control

Maneuvering: Approach and Landing

Normal Approach and Landing

Takeoffs, Landings, and Aircraft Control

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Air Safety Institute offers several interactive courses, presentations, publications, and other safety resources that can be accessed from its website (www.aopa.org/asf/).

The NTSB’s Aviation Information Resources web page, www.ntsb.gov/air, provides convenient access to NTSB aviation safety products.

The NTSB presents this information to prevent recurrence of similar accidents. Note that this should not be considered guidance from the regulator, nor does this supersede existing FAA Regulations (FARs).

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Allegheny, Pennsylvania

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

http://registry.faa.gov/N9682S

NTSB Identification: GAA17CA462
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, July 30, 2017 in Butler, PA
Aircraft: CHAMPION 7ECA, registration: N9682S
Injuries: 2 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 of the tailwheel-equipped airplane reported that, during the landing roll in crosswind conditions, while correcting to maintain the runway centerline, the "upwind wing lifted" and the airplane swerved off the runway to the left. During the runway excursion, the left wing lift strut impacted a runway sign.

The left wing sustained substantial damage. 

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

An automated weather observation station, about the time of the accident, at the accident airport, reported wind from 150° at 3 knots. The pilot reported that the landing was on runway 8.

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