Sunday, December 27, 2020

Low Altitude Operation/Event: Grumman American AA-5, N24AU; accident occurred November 02, 2019 at Gilbert International Airpark (SC45), Lexington County, South Carolina

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; West Columbia, South Carolina 

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:


Location: Gilbert, South Carolina 
Accident Number: GAA20CA066
Date & Time: November 2, 2019, 11:15 Local 
Registration: N24AU
Aircraft: American Aviation AA 5
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Low altitude operation/event 
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal


The pilot reported that the airplane was low on final approach to land and struck a tree. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left aileron. The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions 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 improper approach path, which resulted in impact with a tree.


Aircraft Descent/approach/glide path - Not attained/maintained
Aircraft Altitude - Not attained/maintained
Personnel issues Aircraft control - Pilot
Environmental issues Tree(s) - Effect on operation

Factual Information

History of Flight

Maneuvering Low altitude operation/event (Defining event)
Landing Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private 
Age: 66,Female
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land 
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None 
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane 
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None 
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: BasicMed With waivers/limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: August 29, 2018
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: September 7, 2018
Flight Time: (Estimated) 2157 hours (Total, all aircraft), 179 hours (Total, this make and model), 2012 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 45 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 9.6 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1.1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: American Aviation 
Registration: N24AU
Model/Series: AA 5 Undesignated
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1974 
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: AA5-0588
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: June 18, 2019 Annual 
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2200 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 4372.54 Hrs as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91 installed, not activated 
Engine Model/Series: O-320-E2G
Registered Owner:
Rated Power: 160 Horsepower
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC)
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KCAE,225 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 14 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 15:56 Local
Direction from Accident Site: 75°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 15000 ft AGL
Visibility: 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: 
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.18 inches Hg 
Temperature/Dew Point: 15°C / 3°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Columbia, SC (CAE)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Gilbert, SC (SC45)
Type of Clearance: VFR flight following
Departure Time: 11:15 Local
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Gilbert Intl Airpark SC45
Runway Surface Type: Grass/turf
Airport Elevation: 551 ft msl
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 27 IFR 
Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3000 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Full stop;Traffic pattern

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 
None Latitude, Longitude: 33.884166,-81.381668(est)


  1. I could land better if runways were all flat and there were no obstructions.

  2. Lucky he didn’t end up like N23nj. Trees can get in the way when you don’t maintain proper approach path.


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