Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Loss of Control in Flight: Piper PA-38-112 Tomahawk, N2470D; accident occurred June 07, 2020 at Greater Cumberland Regional Airport (KCBE), Maryland

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; Baltimore, Maryland

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Tomahawk Flyers LLC


Location: Cumberland, MD
Accident Number: ERA20CA209
Date & Time: 06/07/2020, 1330 EDT
Registration: N2470D
Aircraft:Piper PA38 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal


The pilot reported that after a stabilized approach to land, during the touchdown a gust of wind caused the left wing to raise and go "vertical" or "knife edge." He immediately applied full power to go-around, however, the airplane was banking and drifting to the right and before the airplane could climb, it impacted terrain to the right of the runway and skidded down a ravine. The left and right wings sustained substantial damage. The pilot reported that there were no preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane.

About the time of the accident the weather observation at the airport included wind from a heading of 320° at 9 knots, gusting to 18 knots. The calculated crosswind component for the landing on runway 5 was 14 knots.

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 directional control during landing and the subsequent go-around in gusting crosswind conditions.


Personnel issues Aircraft control - Pilot
Aircraft Directional control - Not attained/maintained
Environmental issues Crosswind - Ability to respond/compensate
Environmental issues Gusts - Ability to respond/compensate

Factual Information

History of Flight

Landing-flare/touchdown Other weather encounter
Approach-VFR go-around Other weather encounter
Approach-VFR go-around Loss of control in flight (Defining event)
Approach-VFR go-around Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 39, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 01/27/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 10/26/2019
Flight Time:  380.5 hours (Total, all aircraft), 80.3 hours (Total, this make and model), 286.9 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 16 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 7 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N2470D
Model/Series: PA38 112
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1978
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 38-79A0325
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 01/13/2020, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1670 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 8054 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed
Engine Model/Series: O-235
Rated Power: 112 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: CBE, 775 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1335 EDT
Direction from Accident Site: 0°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling:None 
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 9 knots / 18 knots
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: Terrain-Induced / Terrain-Induced
Wind Direction: 320°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / Light
Altimeter Setting: 30.06 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point:
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Manassas, VA (HEF)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Cumberland, MD (CBE)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1245 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Greater Cumberland Rgnl (CBE)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 775 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 05
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 5047 ft / 150 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Go Around; Traffic Pattern

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 39.613889, -78.756944 (est)


  1. His takeaway was to never land on runway 5 again? I'd say don't choose the runway with a 90-degree crosswind when a a 30-degree crosswind runway was available.