Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Loss of Control in Flight: Cessna 182P Skylane, N7726M; accident occurred July 08, 2020 in Absarokee, Stillwater County, Montana

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board 

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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Helena, Montana

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Absarokee, MT
Accident Number: WPR20CA217
Date & Time: 07/08/2020, 0930 MDT
Registration: N7726M
Aircraft: CESSNA 182
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal


The student pilot reported that during the landing approach he performed a "crab" maneuver to counter the left crosswind. Just prior to touchdown he applied full engine power with the intention of going around, but the airplane drifted left and stalled. The nosewheel and propeller hit the ground and the airplane nosed over. The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings and empennage.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical anomalies 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 pilot's failure to maintain airplane control during a go-around that resulted in the airplane exceeding its critical angle of attack and aerodynamically stalling which resulted in a collision with the ground.


Personnel issues Aircraft control - Student/instructed pilot
Aircraft Angle of attack - Capability exceeded
Environmental issues Crosswind - Effect on equipment

Factual Information

History of Flight

Landing-flare/touchdown Loss of control in flight (Defining event)
Landing-flare/touchdown Attempted remediation/recovery
Landing-flare/touchdown Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Student
Age: 76, 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 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 08/22/2018
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 06/24/2020
Flight Time: (Estimated) 76 hours (Total, all aircraft), 7 hours (Total, this make and model), 76 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 7 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 5 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Registration: N7726M
Model/Series: 182
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1975
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 18263903
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 05/16/2020,
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3100 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 2370 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: Installed, activated, aided in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: O-470-S
Registered Owner:On file 
Rated Power: 230 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: BIL, 3623 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 12 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 0853 MDT
Direction from Accident Site: 30°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility: 10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 4 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / Clear Air
Wind Direction: 160°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / Moderate
Altimeter Setting: 29.89 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 17°C / 8°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Columbus, MT (6S3)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Redman PVT, MT
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0915 MDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Redman Private (PVT)
Runway Surface Type: Grass/turf; Gravel
Airport Elevation: 4630 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry; Vegetation
Runway Used: 27
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3000 ft / 50 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop; Traffic Pattern

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: 45.499167, -109.435278 (est)


  1. Commendable that you're learning to fly at age 76, but the 182 is way too much airplane for a student. As you learned, that airplane will float then the nose will drop like a rock. Hone your skills in a 172 or a Cherokee platform and stay there. C 182 is a handful, and at age 76 I don't recommend it. Safe flying!

    1. Agree. I checked out in a C182 100 hours post private. That's what we used during a mountain checkout. The landing attitude alone is reason enough to learn to fly in something else.

    2. Have to agree. Train in a 172, get some hours in It, then move up. After getting my PPL in a 172 I transitioned to a 1967 182 that was nose heavy as f$#@.

      Too bad the guy who had the accident won’t see these replies. Maybe he will though.

  2. Much respect to anyone who decides to start flying at 70+. And any landing you can walk away from...Hope he got back into the saddle.

    That said, a 182 flown solo is going to be nose-heavy. This guy isn't the first one to find that out by any means, there are hundreds of 182s with wrinkled firewalls. 60-70 lbs. of ballast behind the rear seats helps. But for the purposes of initial private pilot training, a 172 is probably a better choice.