Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Loss of Control in Flight: Cessna 172S Skyhawk SP, N224TA; fatal accident occurred February 23, 2019 at Mansfield Municipal Airport (1B9), Bristol County, Massachusetts

Sydney Miti, Flight Instructor

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Burlington, Massachusetts
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania 
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas

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: Mansfield, MA
Accident Number: ERA19FA107
Date & Time: 02/23/2019, 1225 EST
Registration: N224TA
Aircraft: Cessna 172
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 


After practicing maneuvers during the instructional flight, the flight instructor and student pilot approached the airport for landing. Witnesses and airport surveillance video indicated that the airplane entered the landing flare, but continued to float down the runway a significant distance, touching down about 2,800 ft down the 3,503-ft-long runway. The pilots then initiated a takeoff (touch-and-go). Although the published airport traffic pattern for the runway indicated left turns, the airplane performed a climb in a steep right bank before slowing and entering a spiraling decent toward a grass area near the airport terminal building. Examination of the wreckage did not reveal any preimpact mechanical malfunctions that would have precluded normal operation of the airplane. It is likely that the flight instructor allowed the airplane to exceed its critical angle of attack during a turning initial climb after a touch-and-go landing, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall and impact with terrain. Although it could not be determined who was flying the airplane at the time of the accident, the flight instructor is ultimately responsible for the safety of the flight. 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The flight instructor's failure to maintain airplane control during initial climb after a touch-and-go landing, which resulted in an exceedance of the airplane's critical angle of attack and an aerodynamic stall. 


Angle of attack - Not attained/maintained (Cause)

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Instructor/check pilot (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Initial climb
Loss of control in flight (Defining event)
Aerodynamic stall/spin

Uncontrolled descent
Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT) 

On February 23, 2019, about 1225 eastern standard time, a Cessna 172S, N224TA, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain during the initial climb after takeoff from Mansfield Municipal Airport (1B9), Mansfield, Massachusetts. The flight instructor and student pilot were fatally injured. The airplane was owned and operated by New Horizon Aviation Inc. as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the flight, which originated from Norwood Memorial Airport (OWD), Norwood, Massachusetts, about 1125.

After performing maneuvers over the local area, the airplane approached 1B9 for landing. Witnesses and review of airport surveillance video revealed that the airplane was on approach to runway 32, a 3,503-ft-long, 75-ft-wide asphalt runway. The airplane flared over the runway and floated a significant distance before touching down about 2,800 ft down the runway. The pilots then initiated a takeoff (touch-and-go). Although the published traffic pattern for runway 32 indicated left turns, the airplane performed a climb in a steep right bank before slowing and entering a spiraling descent toward a grass area near the airport terminal building.

Sydney Miti 

Flight Instructor Information

Certificate: Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 32, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Single-engine
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 1 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 01/11/2019
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 11/01/2018
Flight Time:  386 hours (Total, all aircraft), 150 hours (Total, this make and model), 66 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 33 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Student Pilot Information

Certificate: None
Age: 18, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: None
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  7 hours (Total, all aircraft), 7 hours (Total, this make and model), 7 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

The flight instructor held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, airplane multiengine land, and instrument airplane. He also held a flight instructor certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine, issued on November 1, 2018. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) first-class medical certificate was issued on January 11, 2019. Review of the flight instructor's logbook revealed that he had accumulated a total flight experience of about 386 hours; of which, 66 and 33 hours were flown during the 90- and 30-day periods preceding the accident, respectively.

The student pilot did not possess a student pilot certificate nor was he required to. Review of the student pilot's logbook revealed that, at that time of the accident, he had completed six lessons with the operator and had accrued a total flight experience of 7.6 hours.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N224TA
Model/Series: 172 S
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2002
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 172S9224
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 01/29/2019, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2550 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 5660 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91A installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: IO-360-L2A
Registered Owner: New Horizon Aviation Inc
Rated Power: 180 hp
Operator: New Horizon Aviation Inc
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Pilot School (141)

The four-seat, high-wing, fixed tricycle landing gear airplane was manufactured in 2002. It was powered by a Lycoming IO-360, 180-horsepower engine equipped with a two-blade, fixed-pitch McCauley propeller. Review of the maintenance records revealed that the airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on January 29, 2019. At that time, the airframe had accrued 5,660 total hours since new and the engine had accrued 3,358 hours since new.

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: OWD, 49 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 11 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1253 EST
Direction from Accident Site: 10°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility: 10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 3 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: Variable
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.41 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 4°C / -7°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Norwood, MA (OWD)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Mansfield, MA (1B9)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1125 EST
Type of Airspace: 

The accident site was located about 11 miles south of OWD. The 1253 recorded weather at OWD included wind variable at 3 knots, 10 miles visibility, clear sky, temperature 4°C, dew point -7°C, and an altimeter setting of 30.41 inches of mercury.

Airport Information

Airport: Mansfield Municipal Airport (1B9)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 121 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 32
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3503 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Go Around

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 42.004444, -71.199722

The wreckage came to rest nose down in grass oriented on a magnetic heading about 270°; no debris path was observed. Fuel had leaked out of both wings and into the grass. Both wings exhibited leading edge impact damage. The cockpit was crushed, but both front seatbelts remained intact and were unlatched by rescue personnel. The flaps and ailerons remained attached to their respective wings and measurement of the flap actuator corresponded to a flaps-retracted position. The rudder and elevator remained attached to the empennage and measurement of the elevator trim actuator corresponded to a 5° tab-up (nose-down) trim position. Control continuity was confirmed from all flight control surfaces to the cockpit controls. The right aileron cable had separated and both cable ends exhibited broomstraw separation consistent with overstress.

The engine had separated from the airframe. The propeller remained attached to the engine; one blade remained undamaged and was bent slightly forward. The other blade was bent aft and exhibited chordwise scratches. The propeller and rear accessories were removed from the engine. The top spark plugs were removed and their electrodes were intact and light gray in color. The crankshaft was rotated via an accessory drive gear. Crankshaft, camshaft, and valve train continuity were confirmed and thumb compression was obtained on all cylinders. Fuel was found in the engine-driven fuel pump, fuel servo, flow divider, and in the fuel lines. The fuel inlet screen of the fuel servo and oil suction screen were absent of debris. Both magnetos produced spark at all leads when rotated by hand. 

Medical And Pathological Information

The Massachusetts Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Boston, Massachusetts, performed autopsies on both pilots. The cause of death for both pilots was blunt force injuries.

Toxicology testing performed on both pilots by the FAA Forensic Sciences Laboratory was negative for drugs and alcohol.


  1. lower the nose maintain airspeed or become a lawn dart

  2. Better to roll off the end of the runway at 30 to 40 kts than to lawn dart at 60.

    My first thought was where was the trim? I no longer do touch and goes and reset the trim on taxi back for the next takeoff.

    If you have a botched approach go around ... Early ... Don't wait until you are three quarters of the way down the runway due to excessive energy in the earlier part of the approach and now have insufficient energy to maintain control during a go around.

    A new CFI certificate is a license to learn and hopefully live long enough to be an experienced instructor. Most new CFIs do ... A few don't.


  3. It always amazes me you can be a flight instructor with so few hours of actual logged flight time. I would NEVER take lessons from someone with as few hours as this!

  4. This type of accident is why the FAA is recommending that pilots be trained using a minimum speed in event of something like this. 1.404x VS1 and mark the airspeed indicator. You want to get "light in the seat".

  5. Behind the power curve ? Failure to lower the nose ?