Friday, February 22, 2019

Loss of Control on Ground: Cessna 172R Skyhawk, N83AF, accident occurred February 21, 2019 at Morristown Municipal Airport (KMMU), Morris County, New Jersey

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Saddle Brook, New Jersey 

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Morristown, NJ

Accident Number: GAA19CA151
Date & Time: 02/21/2019, 1700 EST
Registration: N83AF
Aircraft: Cessna 172
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control on ground
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 


The flight instructor reported that, during takeoff with the student pilot on the flight controls, the airplane veered slightly left. The instructor assisted by applying rudder input, which corrected the veer, but then the airplane abruptly veered left. The instructor assumed control of the airplane, pulled the power, and applied brakes and rudder. The airplane exited the runway to the left into grass, and the nose landing gear collapsed.

The student reported that he recalled the instructor telling him about the airplane's left turning tendencies and having to correct with the opposite (right) rudder. He added that he may have corrected with the wrong rudder during the takeoff.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the engine mount and fuselage.

The flight instructor 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 station reported that, about 10 minutes before the accident, the wind was from 290° at 7 knots. The airplane was departing from runway 31.

The Federal Aviation Administration's Airplane Flying Handbook, FAA-H-8083-3B, "Normal Takeoff," stated, in part:

As the airplane gains speed, the elevator control tends to assume a neutral position if the airplane is correctly trimmed. At the same time, the rudder pedals are used to keep the nose of the airplane pointed down the runway and parallel to the centerline. The effects of engine torque and P-factor at the initial speeds tend to pull the nose to the left (Torque and P-Factor will be discussed in greater detail in later chapter). The pilot must use whatever rudder pressure is needed to correct for these effects or winds. 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The student pilot's improper rudder input and the flight instructor's delayed remedial action during takeoff, which resulted in a loss of directional control, a runway excursion, and the landing gear collapsing.


Directional control - Not attained/maintained (Cause)

Personnel issues
Use of equip/system - Instructor/check pilot (Cause)
Use of equip/system - Student pilot (Cause)
Delayed action - Instructor/check pilot (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Loss of control on ground (Defining event)
Runway excursion
Landing gear collapse

Flight Instructor Information

Certificate: Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 29, Female
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s):  Airplane Multi-engine; Airplane Single-engine; Instrument Airplane
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 1 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 08/09/2017
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 368 hours (Total, all aircraft), 310 hours (Total, this make and model), 234 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 86 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 25 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Student Pilot Information

Certificate: Student
Age: 18, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: None
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 6 hours (Total, all aircraft), 6 hours (Total, this make and model)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N83AF
Model/Series: 172 R
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2001
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 17281052
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 02/13/2019, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2450 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 15896.9 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed, activated, aided in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: IO-360-L2A
Registered Owner: Ameriflyers Of Texas Inc
Rated Power: 160 hp
Operator: American Flyers
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Pilot School (141)
Operator Does Business As: 07960
Operator Designator Code: 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KMMU, 187 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 2150 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 341°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 25000 ft agl
Visibility: 10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 7 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 290°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.97 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 10°C / 1°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Morristown, NJ (MMU)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Morristown, NJ (MMU)
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time: 1700 EST
Type of Airspace: Class D

Airport Information

Airport: Morristown Muni (MMU)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 186 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 31
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3997 ft / 150 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 40.797500, -74.415833 (est)

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