Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Loss of Control on Ground: Cessna 172N Skyhawk, N75989; accident occurred June 09, 2020 at Santa Barbara Municipal Airport (KSBA), California

Aviation Accident Final 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; Van Nuys, California

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Universal Aviators Academy Inc

Location: Santa Barbara, California
Accident Number: WPR20CA178
Date & Time: June 9, 2020, 11:45 Local
Registration: N75989
Aircraft: Cessna 172
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control on ground
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal


The pilot reported that during landing, the airplane bounced after touchdown. He applied full power to abort the landing and the airplane became airborne. The pilot then then changed his mind and landed the airplane on the remaining runway. After touching down the second time, the pilot was unable to maintain directional control and the airplane departed the runway surface and collided with a fence. The wing spar and empennage were substantially damaged.

The pilot reported that there were no mechanical anomalies 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 directional control during landing, which resulted in a runway excursion and collision with a fence.


Aircraft Directional control - Not attained/maintained
Personnel issues Aircraft control - Student/instructed pilot

Factual Information

History of Flight

Landing Loss of control on ground (Defining event)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Student 
Age: 50, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None 
Restraint Used: 3-point
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: February 21, 2020
Occupational Pilot: No 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: 160 hours (Total, all aircraft), 160 hours (Total, this make and model), 15 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 12 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N75989
Model/Series: 172 N 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1976
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal; Utility 
Serial Number: 17268089
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: June 8, 2020 100 hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2299 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 2 Hrs
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 10276.2 Hrs at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91A installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: O-320 SERIES
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power: 160 Horsepower
Operator: On file 
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Pilot school (141)

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC)
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KSBA,13 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site:
Observation Time: 17:53 Local
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 6 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 230° 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.04 inches Hg 
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C / -1°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Camarillo, CA (CMA) 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR
Destination: Santa Barbara, CA (SBA) 
Type of Clearance: VFR flight following
Departure Time: 10:47 Local 
Type of Airspace: Class C

Airport Information

Airport: Santa Barbara SBA 
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 13 ft msl 
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 15L 
IFR Approach: None 
Runway Length/Width: 4180 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Go around;Traffic pattern

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: On-ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 34.427223,-119.839996(est)

No injuries were reported Tuesday when a small plane went out of control while landing at the Santa Barbara Municipal Airport, and crashed into a fence near the passenger terminal.

The incident occurred at about 11:15 a.m., according to Deanna Zachrisson, airport business development manager.

The pilot and sole occupant of the Cessna 172N Skyhawk, whose name was not available, was not hurt, Zachrisson said.

She added that there was a small fire that was quickly doused by firefighters.

The aircraft was landing on one of the airport’s shorter runways — 15 Left — when it veered sharply to the left, Zachrisson said.

The plane ended up stuck nose first in the fencing near the rental car area at the south end of the terminal, Zachrisson said.

Gate 1, which is at the south end of the terminal, was taken out of service after that crash, although it was not damaged, Zachrisson said.

“We’re very fortunately that there wasn’t a plane there at the time,” she said.

The crashed aircraft is owned by a flight school in El Monte, according to Federal Aviation Administration records.


  1. "Aircraft lost control and crashed into fence."

    Unless there's a catastrophic mechanical failure, aircraft don't lose control anymore than cars do.

  2. Looks like asymmetrical flap deployment

  3. Right flap is bent *upwards* which of course it is not designed to do. Means it hit something.

  4. I don't see signs of impact on right flap. If was doing T&G's, asymmetric flap retraction and full throttle would give a pretty fierce left turning tendency. Let's not hang out the pilot just yet, nobody got hurt, relatively low property damage.

  5. I own a C172N that's leased to a flight school. The flaps are motor driven. Last year a student lowered the flaps on approach and heard a loud bang. The plane became hard to control and the CFI immediately took over. Said the plane flew like a drunk hippo and landing was tricky. They found the right flap severely buckled in a 25 degree down position. The rollers had bound in the flap track and the motor was strong enough to cause the flap to crease and fold. If this was a student or green pilot, I can imagine it was hard to control. Maybe the flap linkage broke and put the right flap in the up position we see in the photo. Glad there were no fatalities.

  6. Right flap is not bent up. It is in the up position and the right aileron is slightly down giving the appearance of the flap being bent upward. However the left flap is down and that can make for a rough ride for any pilot.