Thursday, March 12, 2020

Cessna 177RG Cardinal RG, N1572H: Fatal accident occurred March 11, 2020 near Sterling Airport (3B3), Worcester County, Massachusetts

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Enfield, Connecticut 
Textron Aviation Inc; Wichita, Kansas 
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania 

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Sterling, MA
Accident Number: ERA20FA124
Date & Time: 03/11/2020, 1430 EDT
Registration: N1572H
Aircraft: Cessna 177RG
Injuries:1 Fatal 
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On March 11, 2020, about 1430 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 177RG airplane, N1572H, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident in Sterling, Massachusetts. The private pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

Several witness reported that the airplane taxied to the start of runway 34 at Sterling Airport (3B3), Sterling, Massachusetts, for a full-length takeoff. The takeoff roll and initial climb appeared and sounded normal. One of the witnesses described that as the airplane reached midfield it was, "really high" above the treetops and the engine "coughed." The engine noise then decreased and sounded as if it was "running rough." The airplane's nose lowered slightly, and the engine noise briefly increased, before decreasing and running rough again. The cycle of decreased then increased engine noise occurred 2 or 3 times, during which the landing gear retracted into the fuselage. Another witness, who was a pilot, said the airplane was too high to land on the remaining runway when the engine nose first decreased. As the airplane crossed over the departure end of the runway, it appeared to be in control, and the wings rocked back and forth slightly in a "very nose high" attitude. The left wing then "dipped" and the airplane began a turn toward the left. One of the witness further described that it looked like the airplane "started a cartwheel, and then just fell."

The airplane impacted a wooded bog about 200 yards from the departure end of runway 34, about 25 yards to the right of an extended runway centerline. All major components of the airplane were present at the accident site. The airplane came to rest in a 60° nose down attitude with the horizontal stabilizer leaning against trees. The fuselage was oriented on a 170° magnetic heading. The engine and forward section of the airplane in front of the windscreen were immersed in mud and water. The fuselage was bent upward and buckled just aft of the baggage door. Broken branches and damaged trees were found all within about a wingspan distance from the wreckage, consistent with a near vertical descent.

Examination of the wreckage revealed continuity of the flight controls from the cockpit controls to the rudder, elevator and ailerons. The flaps were in the UP position, and the landing gear were retracted.

Both the left and right fuel filler caps were secure and intact. Both fuel tanks were undamaged, each tank contained about 3 oz of fuel. The electric fuel pump switch was found in the ON position, and the pump operated when electrical power was applied. The fuel selector valve was in the BOTH position. The throttle, propeller, and mixture controls were all in the at or near the full forward positions.

The engine was largely undamaged. One propeller blade was bent slightly aft, about mid span. Neither blade exhibited any leading edge damage nor chordwise scratches. The spinner was undamaged. A ½" wide rub mark was found on the spinner back plate, just forward of the starter ring gear, extending about 180° around its circumference. The top spark plugs were removed, all electrodes were light gray in color. The Nos. 1 and 2 plugs appeared "worn normal" and the Nos. 3 and 4 plugs appeared "normal" when compared to a Champion Check-a-Plug chart. The No. 3 plug was oil soaked. While rotating the propeller by hand, thumb compression and suction was confirmed on all cylinders. The single-drive dual magneto produced spark on all leads when its input drive shaft was rotated. About 1-2 oz of fuel was found in the fuel strainer. The screen inside the strainer was absent of debris. The fuel lines leading to and from the strainer were disconnected and no fuel was found in either line. The fuel lines leading to and from the engine driven fuel pump were disconnected and no fuel was found in either line. The fuel line between the flow divider and the fuel flow gauge was disconnected at the firewall, and fuel was present in the line.

The airplane was retained for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N1572H
Model/Series: 177RG No Series
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:No 
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: KFIT, 348 ft msl
Observation Time: 1452 EDT
Distance from Accident Site: 8 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 11°C / -7°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 5 knots / , 290°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.06 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Sterling, MA (3B3)
Destination: Sterling, MA (3B3)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 42.430278, -71.797500

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email

Steven M. Staudaher
April 19, 1953 - March 11, 2020

STERLING - Steven M. Staudaher, 66, of Sterling, beloved husband of Susan (Norlin) Staudaher, passed away suddenly on Wednesday, March 11, 2020.

Steven was born on April 19, 1953 in Patuxent River, Maryland, the son of Frederick and Marilyn (Semmler) Staudaher. He graduated from Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School and went on to further his education at WPI where he received both his Bachelors and Masters degrees in electrical engineering. He began his career working for Data General, retiring from Cognex in 2016.

Steve was vice chair of the Sterling Finance Committee. In his spare time he enjoyed skiing in New Hampshire and Vermont, gardening, museum visits with Sue, reading, flying his Cessna Cardinal airplane, and collecting downed trees to cut and split for firewood. He could often be found fixing cars, electronics, appliances, his backhoe, and anything else around the house that was broken.

He leaves his devoted family, his wife of 34 years, Sue, two sons, Shawn Staudaher and his wife, Ginger of Lawrenceville, GA and Nick Staudaher of Madison, WI; his mother, Marilyn, of Bradenton, FL; two sisters, Kathy Staudaher and her husband, Joe Esposito of Bethesda, MD and Sue Petitt and her husband, Brian of Springfield, VA; a sister-in-law, Karen Norlin of Sutton, MA; a granddaughter whom he adored, Lulu; and several nephews and nieces. He was predeceased by his father, Fred; brothers, Eric and Robert; and brother-in-law, Richard Norlin.  An announcement will be made when plans for calling hours and a service are available.  Donations in Steve's memory may be made to the Town of Sterling Fire Department Ambulance Fund, PO Box 515, Sterling, MA 01564 or to the Conant Public Library, 4 Meetinghouse Hill Road, Sterling, MA 01564.

Joseph D. Early, Jr. announces the death of a pilot at the Sterling Airport on March 11th, 2020. 

Husband and father Steven Staudaher has been identified by the Worcester district attorney as the pilot of the Cessna 177RG Cardinal RG that crashed 100 yards north of runway 16 at the Sterling Airport Wednesday.

Authorities informed Staudaher’s wife of the news on Wednesday but Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. didn’t want to make Staudaher’s name public until all his children were notified. Stadaher was 66.

“This afternoon at 2:30 p.m. the single-engine plane took off from Sterling Airport and shortly after takeoff, the pilot, who was the sole occupant of the plane, died as a result of a plane crash not too far from the runway,” Early said Wednesday. “The cause of the crash remains under investigation right now. It’s being investigated by the Sterling police, fire department and state police detectives assigned to the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office.”

The area was difficult to access, and investigators from the Massachusetts State Police and the FAA remained at the scene after dark on Wednesday evening. Early said that once the FAA completed its investigation the body of the victim could be removed by the Office of Chief Medical Examiner.

The FAA said the plane clipped some trees and landed in a swampy area about 100 yards north of runway 16. The FAA will investigate and the NTSB will determine the cause of the crash.

Original article can be found here ➤

No comments:

Post a Comment