Saturday, December 07, 2019

Loss of Control in Flight: Piper PA-28R-201 Arrow III, N52737; accident occurred November 11, 2018 at Cannon Creek Airpark (15FL), Lake City, Columbia County, Florida

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Orlando, Florida

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket National Transportation Safety Board: 

Location: Lake City, FL
Accident Number: ERA19LA041
Date & Time: 11/11/2018, 1314 EST
Registration: N52737
Aircraft: Piper PA28R
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 3 Serious, 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On November 11, 2018, about 1314 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-28R-201, N52737, was substantially damaged when it impacted the ground during the initial climb after takeoff from Cannon Creek Airpark (15FL), Lake City, Florida. The private pilot and two passengers were seriously injured, and one passenger sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The right front seat passenger stated that as soon as they took off, he knew something was wrong because the airplane was not climbing very fast. He thought the airplane was going to touch back down on the runway when he noticed the airplane's nose going "up and down." The airplane made several nose-up and nose-down oscillations before going to the left side of the runway and contacting tree tops. The airplane then impacted the ground and cartwheeled.

The pilot stated that he remembered the takeoff roll. He stated he was "having difficulty getting the airplane in the air." The next thing he remembered was waking up in the hospital several days later.

A witness, who was parked on the side of the runway to watch the airplane taking off, stated he observed the pilot perform a preflight engine run-up and the airplane begin the departure on runway 27, a 2,600 ft-long turf runway. The wind was a right quartering tailwind at an estimated velocity about 8 to 10 mph. He thought the pilot "forced" the airplane off the ground and it immediately began "oscillations." When the airplane appeared to be near stall speed, the nose lowered and would then raise again, which repeated until the airplane contacted some tree tops. He further stated that each time the airplane oscillated, it resulted in a lower altitude.

Another witness, who was also a pilot, watched the airplane during the takeoff. He stated that it appeared as if the accident pilot had "pulled" the airplane off the ground too early, and he watched as the airplane "porpoised" 3 to 4 times down the runway, while flying at or near stall speed. The witness further described that there was no change in the engine's sounded throughout the takeoff, and that it appeared to be running well the entire time.

Examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed that the airplane's wings sustained buckling and tears. The left main landing gear collapsed. The fuselage had buckling along its length aft to the elevator. The rudder was undamaged.

The four seat, low-wing, tricycle gear airplane was manufactured in 1989. It was powered by a Lycoming IO-360 series, 200-horsepower engine, equipped with a two-bladed McCauley propeller.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate, with ratings for airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. His FAA third class medical certificate was issued on August 20, 2015. He reported 3,583 total hours of flight experience at that time.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 75, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 08/20/2015
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: 3583 hours (Total, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N52737
Model/Series: PA28R 201
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1989
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 28-37021
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection:  Unknown
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
Engine Model/Series: IO-360
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 200 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: KGNV, 123 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 34 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1806 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 144°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 2700 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 7 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 60°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.19 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 25°C / 17°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Lake City, FL (15FL)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Lake City, FL (15FL)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1314 EST
Type of Airspace:

Airport Information

Airport: Cannon Creek Airpark (15FL)
Runway Surface Type: Grass/turf
Airport Elevation: 125 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 27
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 2600 ft / 50 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 2 Serious, 1 Minor
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 3 Serious, 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 30.150556, -82.665000 (est)


  1. Looks like leatherface went through that airplane...

  2. Cabin is destroyed; lucky to survive that one!

  3. Quartering tail wind by a substantial amount (8-10mph) with all seats occupied and trying to force it into the air. Time to hang it up old timer. Your goose is cooked but you get to live unlike others who do similar foolish things. Fortunately he didn't kill the others in his stupidity either.