Saturday, February 20, 2021

Loss of Control on Ground: Cessna Ector 305A, N1832; accident occurred September 03, 2020 in Amboy, San Bernardino County, California

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Riverside, California 

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Amboy, CA
Accident Number: WPR20CA296
Date & Time: 09/03/2020, 1530 PDT
Registration: N1832
Aircraft: Cessna Ector 305A
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control on ground
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal


The pilot of a tailwheel equipped airplane reported that, he was making a precautionary landing to an old gravel and sand runway. During the landing roll, he lost directional control and the airplane ground looped. Subsequently, the right main landing gear collapsed, and the right wing struck the ground. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the right wing and fuselage.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane 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 directional control of the airplane during a precautionary landing which resulted in a ground loop.


Aircraft Directional control - Not attained/maintained
Personnel issues Aircraft control - Pilot

Factual Information

History of Flight

Landing-landing roll Loss of control on ground (Defining event)
Landing-landing roll Landing gear collapse
Landing-landing roll Dragged wing/rotor/float/other

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 77, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s):None 
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s):None 
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s):None 
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification:BasicMed 
Last FAA Medical Exam: 04/01/2018
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 08/30/2019
Flight Time:  670.7 hours (Total, all aircraft), 103.9 hours (Total, this make and model)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna Ector
Registration: N1832
Model/Series: 305A
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1964
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 2004
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 11/11/2019, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2270 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 9805.91 Hours
Engine Manufacturer: Continental Motors
ELT: C91 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-470-J
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 225 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: KNXP, 2051 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 26 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 2256 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 233°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Light and Variable /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: Variable
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 29.93 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 42°C / -1°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Santa Paula, CA (SZP)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Lake Havasu, AZ (HII)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1400 PDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

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: 34.559722, -115.746944 (est)


  1. "...stayed with the plane to make sure is was protected..."
    Protected from hoodlum thugs. They'll take everything that isn't nailed down or too heavy.

  2. Bummer.... Hate to see a Bird Dog wrecked. Got a couple hundred hours in L-19s towing gliders - very fun airplane but, like any tail dragger, one demanding a specific skill set to land. Typical ground loop scenario starts when the pilots try to 3-point the airplane because they're afraid to wheel-land it. Tail comes down, wing blankets rudder, wing produces more lift with tail down, and off she goes in one direction or the other. Springy gear is another L-19 issue, one best ameliorated by always touching down on only one wheel first (regardless of wind). This reduces the tendency of the plane to bounce back into the air by 1/2.
    Really trips me out that owners would take the chance of doing many thousands of dollars of damage to a vintage tail wheel aircraft rather than spend much less for proper and thorough training. Getting that poor thing safely back to civilization won't be easy or cheap....

    1. Yeah I got my tail dragger rating in a Cessna 170. My instructor at the time (back in the 1980s) was a retired Delta captain and Korean War US Marine F8F Bearcat pilot. He gave me the best advice: fly the aircraft all the way until you get to safe turning speed with the brakes whether or not the tail wheel has rudder-coupled turning capability (the 170 does). Having learned in a 172 it took a few landings to get used to doing exactly the opposite of landing in a tricycle gear aircraft (land nose wheels first). But it made sense pretty quick and I gained confidence of "flying" on the front wheels during landing rollout and using the rudder to control the nose direction until the tail settled. Of course knowing the guy in my right seat once flew Bearcats in combat during the 1950s helped my confidence to be sure.

  3. Another over 70 guy with less than 1000 hours...and the accident happened.

  4. Bummer for sure. Might be time to hang up the goggles.