Monday, April 01, 2019

Loss of Control on Ground: Cessna 172L Skyhawk, N902RA; accident occurred March 31, 2019 at Stephenville Clark Regional Airport (KSEP), Erath County, Texas

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Irving, Texas

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Stephenville, Texas 
Accident Number: GAA19CA192
Date & Time: March 31, 2019, 10:15 Local 
Registration: N902RA
Aircraft: Cessna 172 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control on ground 
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal


The solo student pilot reported that, during landing, the airplane was configured with flaps 30° and that the airspeed was 70 knots. When the airplane was over the runway, he reduced the throttle to idle and initiated the landing flare. The airplane descended rapidly, landed hard, and bounced. He aborted the landing, "but the wind caught me and the next thing I knew, I was facing the taxiway." The airplane exited the left side of the runway into grass and nosed over.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the right wing lift strut.

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

The METAR at the airport reported that, at the time of the accident, the wind was from 050° at 12 knots, gusting to 20 knots. The pilot landed the airplane on runway 32.

According to the manufacturer's Pilot's Operating Handbook, the maximum demonstrated crosswind is 15 knots. The crosswind component for the accident flight was 16 knots.

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 a hard landing, and his subsequent failure to maintain directional control in gusting crosswind conditions that exceeded the airplane's demonstrated crosswind for landing, which resulted in a runway excursion and nose-over. 


Personnel issues Aircraft control - Student/instructed pilot
Aircraft Landing flare - Incorrect use/operation
Aircraft Directional control - Not attained/maintained
Environmental issues Gusts - Effect on operation
Environmental issues Crosswind - Effect on operation
Aircraft Maximum crosswind component - Capability exceeded
Environmental issues Soft surface - Effect on operation

Factual Information

History of Flight

Landing-flare/touchdown Hard landing
Landing-aborted after touchdown Loss of control on ground (Defining event)
Landing-aborted after touchdown Runway excursion 
Landing-aborted after touchdown Nose over/nose down

Student Pilot Information

Certificate: Student
Age: 41, Male 
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 08/07/2018
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 42.2 hours (Total, all aircraft), 38.3 hours (Total, this make and model), 6.2 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 10.1 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 4 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N902RA
Model/Series: 172 L
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1971
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 17260190
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 08/08/2018, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2300 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:  as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed, activated, aided in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: O-320
Registered Owner: Rich Aviation Services Llc
Rated Power: 150 hp
Operator: Rich Aviation Services Llc
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Pilot School (141)

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KSEP, 1321 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1715 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 214°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 12 knots / 20 knots
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: 50°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 30.42 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 9°C / -5°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Weatherford, TX (WEA)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR
Destination: Weatherford, TX (WEA)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0930 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Stephenville Clark Rgnl (SEP)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 1321 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 32
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 4209 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop; Traffic Pattern

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: 32.215278, -98.177778 (est)

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