Sunday, December 06, 2020

Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee, N7450R: Accident occurred December 24, 2019 at Cortland County Airport (N03), New York

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board 

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Rochester, New York

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Cortland, New York
Accident Number: ERA20CA110
Date & Time: December 24, 2019, 16:30 Local
Registration: N7450R
Aircraft: Piper PA28 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: 
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Instructional


The solo student pilot reported that, while practicing a soft-field takeoff, the airplane entered ground effect and drifted left of the runway centerline. The airplane continued to drift left, struck a snowbank, and nosed over. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage, empennage, and right wing. The student reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane or engine 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 maintain the runway heading during takeoff, which resulted in impact with a snowbank and a subsequent nose-over.


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

Factual Information

History of Flight

Takeoff Loss of control in flight
Takeoff Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)
Landing Nose over/nose down

Student pilot Information

Certificate: Student
Age: 46, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None 
Restraint Used: Lap only
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: June 7, 2019
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: (Estimated) 34.7 hours (Total, all aircraft), 34.7 hours (Total, this make and model), 2.2 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 14.6 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 4.5 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1.2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper 
Registration: N7450R
Model/Series: PA28 140 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1966 
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal; Utility
Serial Number: 28-21994
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: October 9, 2019 Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2150 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 8125 Hrs
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: O-320-D2A
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: ITH,1099 ft msl 
Distance from Accident Site: 13 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 15:56 Local
Direction from Accident Site: 239°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 5 knots / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 300° 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.18 inches Hg 
Temperature/Dew Point: 0°C / -4°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Cortland, NY (N03)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Cortland, NY (N03) 
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 15:20 Local 
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Cortland County-Chase Field N03 
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 1197 ft msl 
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 06 
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3400 ft / 75 ft 
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 42.592777,-76.214996(est)

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