Sunday, October 18, 2020

Loss of Control on Ground: Cessna 172M, N8093; accident occurred October 28, 2019 at Daniel Field Airport (KDNL), Augusta, Georgia


Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Atlanta, Georgia 

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Augusta Aviation Inc

Location: Augusta, GA
Accident Number: GAA20CA055
Date & Time: 10/28/2019, 1630 EDT
Registration: N80931
Aircraft: Cessna 172
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control on ground
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional


The solo student pilot reported that he configured the airplane for takeoff and that, during the takeoff roll, the airplane reached 55 knots and ascended about 5 ft above ground level. The airplane descended back onto the runway and veered right. He applied left rudder and pulled the throttle to idle as the airplane exited the right side of the runway. He leveled the wings and locked the brakes, and the airplane impacted a fence. The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings. The student reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures 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 student pilot's failure to attain sufficient airspeed to climb out of ground effect, which resulted in a descent, loss of directional control, runway excursion, and impact with a fence.


Airspeed - Not attained/maintained (Cause)

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Student pilot (Cause)

Environmental issues
Fence/fence post - Effect on operation (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Loss of control on ground (Defining event) 

Student Pilot Information

Certificate: Student
Age: 53, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
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: 04/15/2019
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:   (Estimated) 33.8 hours (Total, all aircraft), 33.8 hours (Total, this make and model), 6 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 9.8 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 6.7 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N80931
Model/Series: 172M
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1976
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 17266806
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 09/04/2019, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2300 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 4206.1 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-320-E2D
Registered Owner: Augusta Aviation Inc
Rated Power: 160
Operator: Augusta Aviation Inc
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: DNL, 440 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 2053 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 97°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts:  Light and Variable /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: Variable
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 30.05 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C / 12°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Augusta, GA (DNL)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Augusta, GA (DNL)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1630 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Daniel Field (DNL)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 422 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 23
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 4002 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries:  1 None
Latitude, Longitude:  33.466667, -82.039444 (est)


  1. How often should a student pilot fly?
    "6 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 9.8 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 6.7 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)"
    As the student's endorsement on their pilot certificate never expires, the original logbook make and model endorsement expires after 90 days. In reality, flying multiple solo flights a week is a must to retain any level of consistency, and building toward one's private the flight exam.

  2. Yeah 33 hours is well into student time and one should be past learning the basics like soft field practice takeoffs - assuming that's what he was doing here. Wonder how long he was a student solo before this accident. Also I wonder if he raised the flaps out of habit after liftoff into ground effect. That would obviously send it back to the ground alarmingly, but I'm at a loss why he lost directional control unless there was a tire blown - variable winds were reported to be very light. Of course he could have also still had right rudder into when it smacked back down as per normal for P-factor takeoff operations.

  3. Late afternoon in late October on runway 23. Could the sun have been in his eyes and played a part in this? I'm trying to be kind because otherwise it looks as though this guy simply isn't cut-out to fly. Destroying a perfectly serviceable C172 on take-off in perfect conditions takes some doing.


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