Sunday, January 12, 2020

Loss of Control in Flight: Piper PA-38-112, N9708T; accident occurred October 15, 2019 at Meadow Lake Airport (KFLY), Colorado Springs, Colorado

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Denver, Colorado

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Colorado Springs, CO

Accident Number: GAA20CA014
Date & Time: 10/15/2019, 1000 MDT
Registration: N9708T
Aircraft: Piper PA38
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 


The pilot reported that, shortly after takeoff, the airplane drifted left of the runway heading. He attempted to correct, but the airplane continued to drift left, impacted a fence, and came to rest in a horse corral. The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings and the fuselage. The pilot 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 pilot's failure to maintain the runway heading while taking off with a gusting tailwind, which resulted in impact with a fence.


Heading/course - Not attained/maintained (Cause)

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)

Environmental issues
Tailwind - Effect on operation (Cause)
Gusts - Effect on operation (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Loss of control in flight (Defining event)
Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 58, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
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 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 04/02/2018
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 12/19/2017
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 609.5 hours (Total, all aircraft), 607.4 hours (Total, this make and model), 569.5 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 55.6 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 15.2 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 4.9 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N9708T
Model/Series: PA38 112
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1978
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal; Utility
Serial Number: 38-78A0164
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 01/01/2019, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1670 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 3463.8 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91 installed, activated, aided in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: O-235-C
Registered Owner: Rock Springs Worship Center
Rated Power: 125 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: KFLY, 6874 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1555 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 0°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility: 10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 10 knots / 18 knots
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 220°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.29 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 8°C / -9°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Colorado Springs, CO (FLY)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR
Destination: Saratoga, WY (SAA)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1000 MDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Meadow Lake (FLY)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 6877 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 08
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 2074 ft / 35 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion:None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 38.942778, -104.570000 (est)

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