Monday, January 06, 2020

Loss of Control in Flight: Grumman American AA-5A Cheetah, N9593U; accident occurred January 05, 2020 in Rutherford County, North Carolina

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Charlotte, North Carolina

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Rutherfordton, NC
Accident Number: ERA20CA065
Date & Time: 01/05/2020, 1649 EST
Aircraft: American Aviation AA5
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 Serious, 3 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

The pilot of the four-seat, single-engine airplane had planned for a 40-minute scenic local flight with 3 passengers aboard. The pilot was demonstrating an aerodynamic stall when the right wing "dropped very quickly" and he attempted to recover by applying opposite rudder, reducing the airplane's pitch, and increasing engine power. The airplane then entered a flat spin to the right. The pilot continued to attempt to decrease the airplane's pitch and continued left rudder application, but the airplane continued to spin. The pilot then applied "full back elevator" as the airplane impacted terrain. During the impact one of the passengers was seriously injured, while the pilot and two of the passengers incurred minor injuries. The airplane's right wing, horizontal stabilizer and fuselage were substantially damaged. The pilot reported that there were no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age:64, Male 
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
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 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 02/05/2018
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 11/18/2018
Flight Time:  1448 hours (Total, all aircraft), 678 hours (Total, this make and model), 1448 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 45.3 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 14.8 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1.6 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: American Aviation
Registration: N9593U
Model/Series:AA5 A 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture:1976 
Amateur Built:No 
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: AA5A-0093
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 03/13/2019, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2200 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 3277 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series:O-320 
Registered Owner:On file 
Rated Power: 160 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: AVL, 2170 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 21 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1654 EST
Direction from Accident Site:277° 
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility: 10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 11 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: 350°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 30.24 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 4°C / -4°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Hendersonville, NC (0A7)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Hendersonville, NC (0A7)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1605 EST
Type of Airspace:  Class E

Airport Information

Airport: Hendersonville (0A7)
Runway Surface Type: N/A
Airport Elevation: 2084 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Unknown
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Serious, 2 Minor
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious, 3 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 35.387222, -82.109167 (est)

ASHEVILLE, North Carolina (WLOS) — A plane that crashed Sunday in Rutherford County was part of Young Eagles, an introduction to flight program created by a non-profit to promote aviation among young people.

It was supposed to be fun, just another quick trip out of Hendersonville Airport and back.

But the plane ride for three juveniles went terribly wrong.

911 caller: An airplane just crashed in my backyard.

Dispatcher: OK. An airplane crashed?

911 caller: Yes, or a helicopter just crashed in my backyard.

Rutherford county 911 first got word of the emergency late Sunday afternoon.

Dispatcher: Did it drop straight out of the air or did it look like it was trying to land?

911 caller: It kind of looked like it was trying to land, trying to land, but it was in trouble or something.

Neighbors rushed to the scene in the heavily wooded area.

"We did what we could to keep them from bleeding, tore the windshield off the best we could," a nearby resident Frank Moore said.

The Grumman American AA-5A Cheetah came to rest on its belly, wedged between trees with its propeller showing little sign of damage.

"The airplane was not running when it hit the ground," Dave Bolser, of the Western North Carolina Pilot's Association, said. "If the engine's running and the prop hits the dirt, it bends it in all different kinds of ways."

Anton Pretorious, Bolser's friend and fellow member of the Western North Carolina Pilot's Association, piloted the Grumman.

Bolser said for any aviator who loses power, trying to restart the engine is obviously job one. But, if that fails, setting up for the best glide path is key. Bolser believes Pretorious did just that.

"An airplane that size, with four passengers, goes down in the trees, usually it doesn't end that well," Bolser said. "He's a good pilot. He flew, I believe he flew that airplane so that when it went into the trees it was as soft as he could put that in the trees."

"He's trained to do what he did. And, to land that airplane the way he did, it just proves that he flew the plane until it wouldn't fly anymore, which is basically what a good pilot does."

Rutherford County Emergency Management officials said the FAA completed its inspection of the aircraft Monday morning and will continue to handle the investigation. Officials also said the wreckage will be removed from the woods tomorrow.

Story and video ➤

RUTHERFORD COUNTY, North Carolina (WSPA) – Four people were taken to the hospital after a small plane crashed in Rutherford County, Sunday afternoon.

According to the Rutherford County Director of Emergency Management Frankie Hamrick, the crash happened around 5:00pm along Polk County Line Road.

Hamrick said four people were onboard the plane including an adult pilot and three juveniles.

All four people were taken to Mission Hospital with minor injuries.

Officials said the plane was flying out of Hendersonville Airport on a demonstration flight.

The FAA has been called to the scene of the crash and are expected to arrive Monday morning.

A witness, Tyler Cook, told 7 News that he saw the plane spiral down into the woods.

Cook said he along with several others rushed to the crashed plane which he said was around a mile into the woods.

Full audio interview with Tyler Cook ➤

RUTHERFORD COUNTY — A small plane crashed along Polk County Line Road in Rutherford County Sunday afternoon and all four passengers were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. 

Polk County emergency crews were along with Rutherford County responded to the scene. 

Rutherford County Director of Emergency Management Frankie Hamrick said the crash happened around 5 p.m. Sunday and all four people on board the plane, including an adult pilot and three juveniles were taken to Mission Hospital with minor injuries. 

One of the victims was initially taken to St. Luke’s Hospital but was later transferred to Mission Hospital. 

Polk County Emergency Management Director Bobby Arledge said Monday morning that the crash was very close to the Polk County line so emergency crews from Polk County responded. He said the crash occurred off Polk County Line Road with the Polk County line being on the left of the crash and Rutherford County line on the right. Arledge said the plane was a 4-seater, small plane that crashed into trees about a mile into the woods. He said there was not a lot of damage to the plane and UTVs carried the passengers out, which included three juveniles under the age of 16 and an adult pilot. The Sunny View and Mill Spring Fire Departments responded, as well as the Polk County Rescue Squad, Polk County EMS and the Polk County Emergency Management Department. 

Original article ➤

RUTHERFORD COUNTY, North Carolina (FOX Carolina) - Rutherford County crews say a pilot and three children suffered minor injuries after a small plane crashed on game land Sunday night.

FOX Carolina initially confirmed with dispatchers that the single-engine aircraft reportedly crashed near Polk County Line Road and Franks Ridge Drive around 5 p.m. We were not made aware of how many potential passengers were on board at the time.

Sheriff Chris Francis later told us injuries were reported, but no deaths.

The Federal Aviation Administration later confirmed the plane was a Grumman American AA-5A Cheetah. The investigation is ongoing and the National Transportation Safety Board will determine probable cause for the crash.

Our crew on scene got more details from Rutherford County Emergency Management Director Edward Hamrick. He told us the aircraft was flying out of Henderson County as part of an exhibition flight for the juveniles on board. Crews were first called around 5 p.m., and the plane crashed on game land, about 50 feet away from a ravine near an old logging road.

Hamrick says crews handled the scene within 45 minutes and would clear out shortly after 7 p.m. There was no fire on the scene, but a small fuel leak was quickly contained.  Hamrick notes the Federal Aviation Administration will take over the investigation in the morning.

Original article can be found here ➤