Saturday, January 27, 2018

Zenith STOL CH701, N701TF: Accident occurred December 01, 2017 at Mount Airy/Surry County Airport (KMWK), North Carolina

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Greensboro, North Carolina

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Accident Number: GAA18CA067
Date & Time: 12/01/2017, 1600 EST
Registration: N701TF
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under:
Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's exceedance of the airplane's critical angle of attack during takeoff, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall.


Angle of attack - Capability exceeded (Cause)
Heading/course - Not attained/maintained

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Loss of control in flight (Defining event)
Aerodynamic stall/spin
Abnormal runway contact
Part(s) separation from AC
Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)
Roll over


The pilot of the experimental amateur-built airplane reported that, during takeoff, he raised the nose after reaching about 20 miles per hour (mph), and about 40 mph the airplane lifted off the runway. He "held the stick back just a little [too] long and it started to tip stall to the left and [he] pushed the stick forward." He added that he applied right aileron and rudder because the airplane was drifting to the left side of the runway. Subsequently, the airplane aerodynamically stalled, bounced on the runway and the right wheel separated from the airplane. He then, with full power, continued to fly and make right aileron and rudder inputs to get back over the runway. The airplane impacted the ground and came to rest inverted.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage, empennage and wings.

The automated weather observation system at the accident airport reported, that about the time of the accident, the wind was from 090° at 4 knots. The pilot was departing on runway 18.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 62, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 5-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 05/24/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 08/22/2016
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 185 hours (Total, all aircraft), 185 hours (Total, this make and model), 125 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: TODD FOLEY
Registration: N701TF
Model/Series: ZENITH 701 NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2016
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 4714
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 11/04/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 940 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 8 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Rotax
ELT:  C126 installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: 912
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 100 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: KMWK, 1247 ft msl
Observation Time: 2105 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 178°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Temperature/Dew Point:  17°C / -3°C
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 5500 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 4 knots, 90°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.18 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration:  No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point:  Mount Airy, NC (MWK)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination:  Mount Airy, NC (MWK)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1600 EST
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 1249 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 18
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 4301 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude:  36.461111, -80.553056 (est)

Preventing Similar Accidents  

Prevent Aerodynamic Stalls at Low Altitude

While maneuvering an airplane at low altitude in visual meteorological conditions, many pilots fail to avoid conditions that lead to an aerodynamic stall, recognize the warning signs of a stall onset, and apply appropriate recovery techniques. Many stall accidents result when a pilot is momentarily distracted from the primary task of flying, such as while maneuvering in the airport traffic pattern, during an emergency, or when fixating on ground objects.

An aerodynamic stall can happen at any airspeed, at any altitude, and with any engine power setting. Pilots need to be honest with themselves about their knowledge of stalls and preparedness to recognize and handle a stall situation. Training can help pilots fully understand the stall phenomenon, including angle-of-attack (AOA) concepts and how weight, center of gravity, turbulence, maneuvering loads, and other factors can affect an airplane's stall characteristics. The stall characteristics may be different in each type of airplane, so learn them before you fly.

The stall airspeeds marked on the airspeed indicator (for example, the bottom of the green arc and the bottom of the white arc) typically represent steady flight speeds at 1G at the airplane's maximum gross weight in the specified configuration. Maneuvering loads and other factors can increase the airspeed at which the airplane will stall. For example, increasing bank angle can increase stall speed exponentially.

Reducing AOA by lowering the airplane's nose at the first indication of a stall is the most important immediate response for stall avoidance and stall recovery. This may seem counterintuitive at low altitudes, but is a necessary first step.

See for additional resources.

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).

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