Sunday, October 11, 2020

Loss of Control in Flight: Cirrus SR22, N779LB; accident occurred January 07, 2020 at Kalaeloa Airport (JRF), Kapolei, Hawaii


Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Honolulu, Hawaii

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:
Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Kapolei, HI
Accident Number: ANC20CA012
Date & Time: 01/07/2020, 1505 HST
Registration: N779LB
Aircraft: Cirrus SR22
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 Minor, 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

The student pilot was taking his private pilot checkride and was performing a soft-field takeoff from a touch-and-go. The student pilot reported that immediately after the takeoff, the airplane experienced "windshear" from the right and the airplane banked left and drifted left of centerline. He corrected with right aileron, which at first had no effect, and then the airplane rapidly banked right and the right wing tip struck the runway surface. The airplane then banked and yawed left and pitched up and the student pilot lost control of the airplane, "despite attempts to provide corrective action." The airplane descended from about 15 ft in a nose low left wing down attitude and impacted the runway surface hard, which resulted in a fire in the right wing.

The designated pilot examiner (DPE) stated that the student pilot performed a good soft field landing and then after the soft-field takeoff, the right wing suddenly dipped, and the wingtip struck the runway. As the DPE was about to say "abort," the airplane pitched up and rolled left. The DPE then got on the controls with the student pilot and they both had full right aileron applied, but the airplane did not respond and subsequently impacted the runway.

The impact forces and post impact fire resulted in substantial damage to the fuselage and wings.

The student pilot reported that the automated weather observation at the time of the accident indicated wind from 080° at 12 knots gusting to 28 knots. The accident occurred on runway 4R. The DPE reported that after the accident he observed that the wind was strong and gusting.

The student pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

Student Pilot Information

Certificate: Student
Age: 36, Male
Airplane Rating(s):None 
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s):
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s):
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s):
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam:  10/21/2019
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 45.8 hours (Total, all aircraft), 44.7 hours (Total, this make and model), 10 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft)

Check Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Flight Instructor; Military; Private
Age: 73, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s):
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 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 10/29/2019
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 08/28/2019
Flight Time: (Estimated) 15567 hours (Total, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cirrus
Registration: N779LB
Model/Series: SR22
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 2499
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 12/11/2019, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3400 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 48 Hours
Engines:  Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 4723.3 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: C126 installed
Engine Model/Series: IO-550N
Registered Owner: Laurence Balter
Rated Power: 310 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: PHJR, 30 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site:
Observation Time: 2353 UTC
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 3000 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 4500 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 12 knots / 28 knots
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: 80°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 30.12 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 27°C / 18°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Kapolei, HI (JRF)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Kapolei, HI (JRF)
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time: 1400 HST
Type of Airspace: Class D

Airport Information

Airport: Kalaeloa (John Rodgers Field) (JRF)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 30 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 04R
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 8000 ft / 200 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Touch and Go

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor, 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor, 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 21.303889, -158.074167 (est) 


  1. Love, love, love Laurence Balter ... Amazing top-notch Gold Seal Flight Instructor Certificated CFII, AGI, CSIP, ATP, etc. Laurence is fun, relaxing, a joy to fly with and interesting guy to boot! It’s an educational experience I’ll never forget!

    Fly Safe, Fly Often.

    God Bless You, Laurence!

  2. A 45 hour pilot doing a check ride for his PPL in 12/28 kt in a Cirrus. What could possibly go wrong?

    1. Yep, the decision to either go ahead or discontinue a checkride when faced with less than ideal conditions is on the pilot, not the DPE. A DPE will happily go ahead with the checkride if the pilot doesn't exercise that PIC authority to discontinue and try again another day.

  3. I thought the exact same thing, check ride 12/28k?

  4. glad they got down ok. Believe if I was the DPE i'd value my skin more than that to trust the judgement and skills of a 45 hour Cirrus owner on a day like that.

  5. I would have failed him for judgement and not taken off.