Sunday, March 03, 2019

Loss of Control on Ground: Piper PA-28-151, N41390; accident occurred October 18, 2018 at Hastings Airport (9D9), Barry County, Michigan

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Grand Rapids, Michigan

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Hastings, MI

Accident Number: GAA19CA028
Date & Time: 10/18/2018, 0930 EDT
Registration: N41390
Aircraft: Piper PA28
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control on ground
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 


The flight instructor reported that, while observing the solo student pilot's flight from the ground, the approach looked good, but the airplane might have been fast. As the airplane flared, he noticed the right wing "kind of pop up" just before touchdown. Subsequently, the airplane landed sideways and exited the left side of the runway.

The instructor added that the student was unsure of what happened but reported that he had just lost control.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing and fuselage.

The 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 improper landing flare, which resulted in the airplane landing sideways and a subsequent runway excursion.


Directional control - Not attained/maintained (Cause)
Landing flare - Not attained/maintained (Cause)

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Student pilot (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Abnormal runway contact
Loss of control on ground (Defining event)
Runway excursion 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Student
Age: 41, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
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: 09/13/2018
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 12.1 hours (Total, all aircraft), 12.1 hours (Total, this make and model)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N41390
Model/Series: PA28 151
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1974
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 28-7415198
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 09/07/2018, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2325 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 12464.7 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-320E3D
Registered Owner: Ross E. Demaagd
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: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KGRR, 803 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 15 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1353 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 329°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 4000 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 6 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 180°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.51 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 3°C / -1°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Hastings, MI (9D9)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Hastings, MI (9D9)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0930 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: HASTINGS (9D9)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 800 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 30
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 5004 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop; Traffic Pattern

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:  42.664444, -85.345278 (est)


  1. These airplanes have a tendency to float for a long time on landing....even small gusts can screw up an otherwise good landing...setting it down on the funway can be challenging.

  2. Really? Something must have changed because that hasn't been my experience.

  3. Piper PA28 will drop like a rock. Unless, of course, the plane landed with the wind and/or fast.
    Trust me...
    Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee (aircraft owner and longtime pilot)

  4. I think it depends on the year of the Cherokee and whether or not it has a tapered wing vs a Hershey bar wing. I got my PPL in a 1985 Warrior II with tapered wing and it will float a lot if you come in fast. The 1971 Arrow that I fly now with the Hershey bar wing will drop onto the runway like a piano if you get too slow.

  5. Twelve hour student pilot on (presumably) one of their first solo landings with a quartering tailwind, with a large crosswind component? Landing on RWY 30 with wind 6 kt at 180 sounds like a setup for disaster. That's stacking the deck against your student!