Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Loss of Control in flight: Cessna 172C Skyhawk, N8487X, accident occurred December 20, 2018 at Center Municipal Airport (F17), Shelby County, Texas

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Houston, Texas

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

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


Location: Center, TX

Accident Number: GAA19CA123
Date & Time: 12/20/2018, 1430 CST
Registration: N8487X
Aircraft: Cessna 172
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal


The pilot reported that, during the landing flare, a wind gust "lifted the wing up 90 degrees." She then leveled the wings and added full power. When the wings were leveled, the airplane was above a drainage ditch between the runway and parallel taxiway. She realized that the airplane would not gain enough airspeed to "make the [taxiway]," so she intentionally aerodynamically stalled the airplane to "prevent flipping" it. The airplane descended and impacted the drainage ditch.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the right and left wings.

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

The airport's automated weather observation system reported that the wind was from 310° at 14 knots, gusting to 23 knots. A weather station located about 2 miles southwest of the airport reported that, about the time of the accident, the wind was from 311° at 2.7 mph (about 2 knots), gusting to 12.1 mph (about 11 knots). The pilot was landing the airplane on runway 35. 

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 landing in gusting crosswind conditions, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall.


Angle of attack - Capability exceeded (Cause)

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)

Environmental issues
Crosswind - Effect on operation
Gusts - Effect on operation
Object/animal/substance - Contributed to outcome

Factual Information

History of Flight

Other weather encounter
Loss of control in flight (Defining event)
Attempted remediation/recovery
Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 30, Female
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Lap Only
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 03/17/2014
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 06/16/2018
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 163.5 hours (Total, all aircraft), 163.5 hours (Total, this make and model), 108.4 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 13.5 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N8487X
Model/Series: 172 C
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1962
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 17248987
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 06/01/2018, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2250 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 45.33 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: Installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: O-300-D
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 145 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: KOCH, 355 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 32 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 2056 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 241°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 22 knots / 30 knots
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 320°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.8 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 15°C / 2°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Mc Pherson, KS (MPR)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Center, TX (F17)
Type of Clearance: VFR; VFR Flight Following
Departure Time: 1100 CST
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: CENTER MUNI (F17)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 318 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 35
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 5501 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude:  31.835278, -94.157222 (est)

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