Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Hard Landing: Cessna 170B, N2681D; accident occurred June 09, 2020 at Aitkin Municipal Airport (KAIT), Minnesota

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board 

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Minneapolis, Minnesota

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Aitkin, MN
Accident Number: CEN20CA225
Date & Time: 06/09/2020, 1210 CDT
Registration: N2681D
Aircraft: Cessna 170
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Hard landing
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 

The flight instructor stated that he and his student made a straight-in landing approach to runway 8 with a 6-7 knot crosswind from the south because they preferred to land the tailwheel-equipped airplane on the grass runway instead of the available hard-surface runway 16. The student intended to make a full-stall landing with the wing flaps extended 20°. The student pilot crabbed the airplane into the right crosswind during final approach, and before the landing flare transitioned into a sideslip with the right wing down and left rudder to keep the airplane aligned with the runway direction. The flight instructor stated that upon touchdown there was a wind gust, which caused the airplane to bounce and drift left over the runway. The flight instructor told the student pilot to add engine power to abort the landing. The student pilot increased engine power, but the airplane continued drifting left over the runway. The airplane bounced a second time, at which time the flight instructor took control of the airplane. The flight instructor stated that the airplane was "skimming the grass" and was "behind the power curve" as he attempted to regain control of the airplane and establish a climb. The airplane impacted the airport perimeter fence about 70 yards left of the runway edge. An engine mount support tube and both wings were substantially damaged during the accident. The flight instructor reported that there were no mechanical anomalies with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. He additionally stated that the engine responded to full power when the student pilot advanced the throttle after the first bounced landing. A postaccident examination confirmed flight control continuity at the accident site. 

Flight Instructor Information

Certificate: Airline Transport
Age: 22, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land; Single-engine Sea
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Multi-engine; Airplane Single-engine; Instrument Airplane
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 1 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 02/07/2020
Occupational Pilot:Yes 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 11/18/2019
Flight Time:  1984.5 hours (Total, all aircraft), 113 hours (Total, this make and model), 1436 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 49 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 8 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Student Pilot Information

Age: 63, 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:No 
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 04/29/2019
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 03/30/2020
Flight Time:  88 hours (Total, all aircraft), 88 hours (Total, this make and model), 30 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 5 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N2681D
Model/Series:170 B 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1952
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 20833
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 09/23/2019, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2200 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 9 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 2538 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: C91 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: C145
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 145 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:  AIT, 1206 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1215 CDT
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling:None 
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 7 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction:170° 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.62 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C / 17°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Brainerd, MN (BRD)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Aitkin, MN (AIT)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1150 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Aitkin Municipal Airport (AIT)
Runway Surface Type: Grass/turf
Airport Elevation: 1206 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used:08 
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3123 ft / 140 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Straight-in

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 46.548333, -93.676667 (est)

AITKIN — A Brainerd man and his passenger were uninjured when the aircraft they were in crashed just after noon Tuesday, June 9th, at the Aitkin Municipal Airport.

A 911 call came into the Aitkin County dispatch offices at 12:11 p.m. regarding a single-engine aircraft that crashed at the airport. The Aitkin police and fire departments and the Aitkin County Sheriff's Office all responded to the scene.

A Cessna 170B plane crashed on the grass portion of the runway north of the airport, the Aitkin Police Department reported in a news release. The pilot Ryan Frank, 22, of Brainerd and his passenger Kenneth Mehr, 63, of Deerwood were not injured. The aircraft sustained structure damage.

According to a 2015 Brainerd Dispatch story, the pilot, Frank, was 17 and a junior at Brainerd High School when he earned his private pilot’s license. Frank did his flight instruction through Airmotive Enterprises at the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration will assist the police department with the investigation to determine the cause of the crash.

Ryan Frank, 17, discusses his preflight checklist in front of the Cessna 172N he flew during most of his training at the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport.

February 2015:  For many children, watching a plane navigate the sky is a source of wonderment. For a young Ryan Frank, it was a glance into his future.

Last week Ryan, a 17-year-old junior at Brainerd High School, earned his private pilot's license just days after his birthday made him eligible to do so.

"If I didn't have that age limit, I probably would have had my license in October," Ryan said.

Ryan's earliest memories of flight come from a trip his family took to Arizona to visit his grandparents.

"(My) face was glued to the window and looking out all the time," he said. "Ever since then, I've really lived aviation and flying, always interested, always looking up when I hear the airplane go by."

What began as a pastime - spending hours on a computer flight simulator - grew into a full-blown passion last spring when Sun Country Airlines arranged for Ryan to meet professional pilots and see the cockpit of a jumbo jet. The invitation came in response to a letter he sent to the company, a letter he said he never expected to be answered.

His father, Dave Frank, remembers when Ryan received the call while the family was traveling to the Twin Cities in preparation for a flight to Mexico. The excitement he saw in Ryan, he said, made him realize how important this was to his son.

"He's passionate about it," Dave Frank said. "He has studied everything about it and he's made connections with other pilots already and really done the research, which has been fun for me to see. We've always been one to push him and say, 'Be open-minded and learn everything you can about a situation.'"

When the family returned from vacation, it was not long before Ryan found himself at the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport where in June he began flight instruction through Airmotive Enterprises. Instructor Matt Van Cura said he watched Ryan's passion for aviation unfold as he began pursuing his license.

"It's nice to have a student like that, who's talented but also willing to put the work in to accomplish his goals," Van Cura said. "It's interesting to see the progression from someone who knows very little about aviation to someone who is a proficient pilot."

Ryan said his family and airport staff have been supportive of his goals and helped him accomplish them. His parents supported his instruction financially, although Dave Frank said when he saw how much it would cost he jokingly told Ryan he needed to get another job. Ryan took his dad seriously and picked up his third summer gig, washing planes at the airport, to help pay for his flying. He already worked five or six nights per week at Coach's Corner in Deerwood and also mowed about a dozen area lawns.

"When I said that, it was kind of tongue-in-cheek, but he went and got a job there," he said. "He worked probably 60- (to) 65-hour weeks all summer and he saved all of it."

As for Ryan, he said he enjoys working because it makes him feel accomplished.

"When I want to do something, I really commit to it," he said.

After several hours in the sky with an instructor over the course of the summer, Ryan took his first solo flight Oct. 11, a moment he said he'll never forget. His parents likely won't either. Dave Frank said he became unexpectedly emotional when he realized Ryan would be alone in the plane.

"I didn't anticipate it," Dave Frank said. "We were driving over and talking and saying some prayers, and it just hit me like a ton of bricks that my boy's going up there all by himself."

He said his fears stemmed from having known several pilots who did not survive ill-fated flights in small planes, not from a lack of trust in his son.

"He was on a snowmobile when he was 4 or 5 years old, and a four-wheeler, and he was always safe," he said. "I never had to worry about him."

Mother Debra Frank felt the nerves at first, but said the family has let their Catholic faith guide them in supporting Ryan's dream.

"I just trust the Lord is going to protect him," she said. "If it's (his) time in the air, or it's time on the ground, I can't control that. So I try to be proud of him and just excited about it for him."

So far, neither parent has flown with Ryan, although they have plans to do so soon.

Although Ryan has set his course for a career flying professionally, he has not lost sight of another of his passions, computer science. Upon graduation, he plans to attend Central Lakes College and go on to complete a four-year degree in the field, focusing on web design or application development. In an industry where pilots can sometimes be laid off, Ryan said he wants to ensure he has a back-up plan.

"I'd rather go flying than do homework, but you know, you gotta do the homework and do the school part so you can become whatever you want to be later on," he said.

For now, Ryan's flying is relegated to weekends - he's a "weekend warrior" per pilot lingo - but he's gearing up for the next step in flight training, to earn his instrument rating. This will allow Ryan to operate the plane in cloudy or dark conditions using instruments to fly rather than by sight.

The rest of his journey toward commercial flight is mapped out. First, 250 hours of flight to earn a commercial license, then he'd like to become a certified flight instructor to help complete the 1,500 hours of training required to pilot an airline jet. He'll have to wait until he's 23 to earn this final distinction, although it seems likely he'll be first in line to take his test in 2021.

"They always say, 'It's not the destination, it's the journey,'" Ryan said. "For pilots, I think that's really true."

Article can be found here:


  1. He sounds like an egotistical spoiled brat. This accident isn't going to improve his chance of 'flying a jet for the airlines', he'll have to explain it on every interview.

    1. Sounds like a son anyone would be proud of....well, almost anyone. He apparently has worked really hard to accomplish his goal. I wish him all the best in the future.

  2. I am missing something. Egotistical spoiled brat? Not hardly. I am impressed with his focus, and passion. I followed a similar path when I learned to fly 45 years ago. And, I had an episode that never turned into an incident. On landing, the Citabria I was learning it ground looped. It happened fast and I was very lucky. I did a 360 on the runway, and the only damage was to my ego! I considered giving up flying, however, kept moving forward. I am now a CFII/MEI, and would not give up the gift of flight for anything! Ryan keep moving forward. You are a breath of fresh air to us old guys!

  3. Well, I started flying when I was 15 and soloed when I was 16 and just retired from airline flying at 65. I'm currently a 737 instructor. I never put so much as a scratch on an aircraft. I'd say this young man's career is off to a rather inauspicious start. Seems like a hard worker, so best of luck to him.

  4. My old aircraft. Two time Oshkosh winner. Hard to look at the picture but it can happen. Glad no one got hurt..


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.