Wednesday, December 09, 2020

Piper PA-28-140, N79HA: Accident occurred February 28, 2020 at Maury County Airport (MRC), Pleasant, Tennessee

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Nashville, Tennessee

Location: Mount Pleasant, TN 
Accident Number: ERA20LA121
Date & Time: February 28, 2020, 15:30 Local 
Registration: N79HA
Aircraft: Piper PA28
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Instructional

On February 28, 2020, about 1530 central standard time, a Piper PA-28-140, N79HA, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident at Maury County Airport (MRC), Pleasant, Tennessee. The flight instructor and student pilot were not injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight.

According to the student pilot, they departed Springfield, Tennessee, for a local flight to MRC, where they had lunch and intended to practice soft-field takeoff and landing maneuvers. He stated that after engine startup, they discussed the soft-field takeoff procedure on the ramp for about 12-15 minutes. They then taxied to the runway and took off without performing an engine run-up. He stated that he did not note the engine rpm during the takeoff roll because his eyes were focused outside. About 900 ft down the turf runway, the airplane lifted off and he moved the yolk forward to maintain level flight while accelerating in ground effect. He attempted twice to climb, but on both attempts the airplane settled back into ground effect. He told the instructor, "It's still not climbing," and assessed the airplane's ability to clear the power lines at the edge of the airport property, which were at his eye-level. He made the decision to stay on the airport property, initiated a left turn, and the airplane descended to the ground.

According to the flight instructor, the airplane settled back into ground effect twice after the student attempted to raise the airplane's nose to climb. He instructed his student to make a left turn to avoid the power lines at the edge of the airport property and stated that the student banked more steeply than anticipated. He joined the student on the controls; however, the airplane descended and impacted the ground in a nose-low attitude. The nose landing gear was sheered, and the left wing sustained substantial

Examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration aviation safety inspector revealed that the left wing displayed buckling from the leading to the trailing edge of the wing and the aileron was bent up.

The wreckage was retained for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N79HA
Model/Series: PA28 140 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: MRC,681 ft msl
Observation Time: 15:35 Local
Distance from Accident Site:
Temperature/Dew Point: 8°C /-2°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 4300 ft AGL 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / 11 knots,
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.1 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Mount Pleasant, TN (MRC) 
Destination: Mount Pleasant, TN (MRC)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None 
Latitude, Longitude: 35.554443,-87.179168


  1. He probably didn't have the mage switch on "both" but now we'll never know.

    1. Actually if the nose damage was bad enough that sheared off the nose wheel, the NTSB might be able to find out if both mags were on or if just one was on at impact no matter the ignition key mag selector position. They might be able to tell rotation marks during operation from one that was and one was not rotating during impact *if* the engine was damaged as well on impact.

    2. Are you talking about the mags, propellor, wheels, key?