Sunday, March 24, 2019

Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee, N7223J: Accident occurred September 13, 2018 at Spanish Fork Airport (KSPK) Utah County, Utah

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Salt Lake City, Utah

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Spanish Fork, UT
Accident Number: GAA18CA553
Date & Time: 09/13/2018, 0830 MDT
Registration: N7223J
Aircraft: Piper PA28
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control on ground
Injuries: 2 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 


The flight instructor reported that, during takeoff, as the airplane reached rotation speed, the student took his feet off the rudder pedals. The airplane drifted left of the runway centerline, and the student then quickly placed his feet back on the pedals and pushed the right brake, which caused the airplane to veer right. The instructor, who did not have brakes on his side, applied left rudder, but the airplane departed the right side of the runway. He added that, during the runway excursion, he heard the tail dragging along the ground or striking bushes. Subsequently, the airplane aligned with the runway, but fearing damage to the tail, the instructor aborted the takeoff and landed the airplane on the side of the runway, and it struck large mounds of dirt and a ditch.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings and the fuselage.

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

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The student pilot's failure to maintain the runway heading during takeoff and the flight instructor's decision to conduct primary flight instruction in an airplane without dual controls.


Heading/course - Not attained/maintained (Cause)

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Student pilot (Cause)
Decision making/judgment - Instructor/check pilot (Cause)

Environmental issues
Sloped/uneven terrain - Contributed to outcome

Factual Information

History of Flight

Loss of control on ground (Defining event)
Attempted remediation/recovery
Runway excursion
Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Flight Instructor Information

Certificate: Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 28, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Lap Only
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Single-engine
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 1 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 02/21/2018
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 04/19/2017
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 888 hours (Total, all aircraft), 198 hours (Total, this make and model), 856 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 47 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 10 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Student Pilot Information

Certificate: None
Age: 35, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Lap Only
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 08/30/2018
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: (Estimated)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N7223J
Model/Series: PA28 140
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1968
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 28-24559
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection:  Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2150 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-320-E3D
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 150 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Dawn
Observation Facility, Elevation: KPVU, 4497 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 5 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1456 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 330°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Light and Variable /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: Variable
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.95 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 22°C / -2°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Spanish Fork, UT (SPK)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Spanish Fork, UT (SPK)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0830 MDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 4529 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 30
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 6500 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Minor
Latitude, Longitude:  40.145000, -111.666667 (est)

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