Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Aerodynamic Stall/Spin: Commander 114B, N374JW; accident occurred February 22, 2020 at Branch County Memorial Airport (KOEB), Coldwater, Michigan

Airplane in the grass near the runway.

Damaged and wrinkled left wing. 

Damaged and curled propeller blades. 

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Grand Rapids, Michigan

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Coldwater, MI
Accident Number: CEN20CA100
Date & Time: 02/22/2020, 1430 EST
Registration: N374JW
Aircraft: Commander 114
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Aerodynamic stall/spin
Injuries: 1 Minor, 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 

The purpose of the flight was to complete a flight review for the commercial rated pilot in the left seat with the flight instructor in the right seat. After takeoff and about 300 ft agl, the flight instructor reduced the throttle to idle to simulate an engine failure. The flight instructor expected the pilot to make a gradual right turn to land mid-field on the intersecting runway. The pilot did not respond as expected so the flight instructor assumed control, made a right turn, and lowered the airplane's nose. About the same time the pilot thought they were too low and advanced the throttle full forward. They felt the airplane shudder and experienced an aerodynamic stall before it impacted the ground. A postimpact fire ensure under the engine cowling that was extinguished by the passenger using the onboard fire extinguisher. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and both wings. Examination of the propeller noted curling and chordwise scratches on the blades. Additionally, the engine monitor indicated the engine was turning at 2,625 rpm at the time of the accident, consistent with the engine producing high power.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 70, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 03/02/2018
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 01/26/2018
Flight Time:  1783 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1682 hours (Total, this make and model), 1702 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 8 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Flight Instructor Information

Certificate: Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 72, 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: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 03/05/2019
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 02/19/2020
Flight Time:  3610 hours (Total, all aircraft), 54 hours (Total, this make and model), 3432 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 10 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Pilot-Rated Passenger Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: , Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s):
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s):
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s):
Toxicology Performed:
Medical Certification:
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Commander
Registration: N374JW
Model/Series: 114 B
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1993
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 14595
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 05/01/2019, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3250 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 1882 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C126 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: IO-540-T4B5
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 260 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: KOEB, 959 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1415 EST
Direction from Accident Site: 230°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts:  14 knots / 20 knots
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: 220°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 30.18 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 5°C / -4°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Coldwater, MI (OEB)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Coldwater, MI (OEB)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time:  EST
Type of Airspace: Class E

Airport Information

Airport: Branch County Memorial (OEB)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 958 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 04
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3500 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor, 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor, 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 41.936944, -85.046667 (est)

A single-engine plane made a crash landing off the runway at the Branch County Memorial Airport Saturday afternoon while the pilot was undergoing recertification.

Patrick Murphy, 70, of White Pigeon, had flown his Commander 114B from its base at Kirsch Municipal Airport in Sturgis. He was conducting “touch and go” take offs and landings under the direction of certified instructor Ed Shumway, 72, of Tekonsha.

Around 1:40 p.m., witnesses said the aircraft experienced a stall and subsequent off-runway ground impact during a simulated “engine-out” during takeoff.

The plane came in hard and tore off the wheels, as well as bent the propeller. The fuselage suffered some bottom damage.

Less than 50 gallons of fuel was spilled in the rocky grassy area near the middle of the airport. A Department of Natural Resources officer responded. Airport Manager Joe Best said the spill did not present any danger to wetlands or water where it was spilled.

Coldwater Fire and LifeCare responded. Passenger, Rick Crepas, 60, of Kalamazoo, reported a sore neck. That was the only injury.

Branch County Sheriff deputies conducted the investigation. Michigan State Police also responded.

The insured plane was left in the middle of the airport field pending arrival of Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety board staff during the week.

The airport was not closed and planes continued to use the runways while the investigation was underway.

Original article ➤ https://www.thedailyreporter.com

COLDWATER, Michigan — There were no injuries in a single-engine plane crash reported in Branch County Saturday, officials said. 

Around 1:42 p.m. deputies responded to the  Branch County Memorial Airport on a report of a plane crash and fire. When they arrived, they found the Commander 114B had "belly crashed" in a field. 

There were three people in the plane, one of them being Edwin Shumway, a flight instructor from Tekonsha. 

The three people told police they took off on a short runway, climbed to 300 feet and simulated a "power failure." The pilot, Patrick Murphy of White Pigeon, made a slight right turn but the plane started to shake badly. Murphy lost control and the plane dropped immediately, police said. 

Shumway said he and Murphy "pulled up as hard as we could," but the plane slammed into the ground and slid about 250 yards before coming to a stop. 

One of the tanks in the wing ruptured and all the fuel spilled out.  

The back passenger Richard Crepas of Kalamazoo was not injured. 

The Federal Aviation Administration was called to investigate the crash, which is standard protocol for a plane crash. 

Original article can be found here ➤ https://www.wzzm13.com


  1. 'Pull back as hard as you can Patrick, we're stalling and don't dare touch that power lever'

  2. What. On. Earth. Is. Going on with flight training these days ! The occupants' comments make no sense.

  3. Incident? Don't think so.

    I don't do or teach touch and goes any more.
    I will do an engine failure on take-off but only as an EXPECTED maneuver, well briefed in the class room, only as a demonstration, and only on a LONG runway and only from about 50'.


    1. Given an appropriate runway, a touch and go is a valuable skill to master, nearly as important as the go-around. A pilot's first balked landing shouldn't be attempted after training when there is an actual obstacle threatening the landing roll-out.

  4. Pulling power at 300' on takeoff seems like a bad idea. Or is this normal? I'm a 45 hour student pilot and have never done this. Wouldn't you want to do this at altitude to simulate engine failure on takeoff?

    1. ^ I've done plenty of power on stalls at altitude.

    2. Context is key here. I'm guessing they took off on the short runway, 22, at KOEB. There's a crossing runway 25 that is 5,350 ft long. The instructor probably expected or was attempting to demonstrate that a gradual right turn to the long runway could and should be made safely.

      In my first few hours of training, the Chief instructor was flying with me on a stage check. He pulled the power as we went from crosswind to downwind on the short runway. I was right over the threshold of the long runway but continued the downwind because I had been conditioned to focus on the pattern. He asked me where I was going and I told him I was going to make a left base over the numbers on the short runway. He said no no, you have a perfectly good runway behind you and proceeded to crank us around to the right and make a nice power off landing on the long runway.

      The point is that context and judgement must be taught and airport layout, departure obstacles, and failure scenarios briefed before takeoff. Stalls should only be practiced at a safe altitude. The instructor bears responsibility to ensure the safety the flight but if the owner was a certificated pilot, there were obvious deficiencies in technique.

  5. Both of them pulling back on the controls as hard as they could made me think of Christopher Walken as a music producer Bruce Dickinson on Saturday night live. Cowbells, boys you need more Cowbells, have to really get on them Cowbells, I've got a fever and the only prescription is more COWBELL.

  6. Stupid stupid stupid!! 70 and 72 maybe we shouldn't be playing around with the power at 300 feet.