Sunday, February 28, 2021

Loss of Control on Ground: Piper PA-28-235, N9468W; accident occurred March 31, 2020 at Millard Airport (KMLE), Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska

View to the southeast down runway 12. Note the skid mark angling off to the left.

N9468W in the grass to the left of runway 12.

N9468W with collapsed nose landing gear.

Left wing separation.

Bent engine mount and buckled firewall.

Wrinkle in roof next to cabin door handle.

Torn skin on left wing and fuselage.

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board 

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Lincoln, Nebraska

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Omaha, NE
Accident Number: CEN20CA137
Date & Time: 03/31/2020, 1844 CDT
Registration: N9468W
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-235C
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control on ground
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional


The student pilot reported that, during landing following his third solo cross-country flight, the airplane touched down and then bounced. The right wing dropped, and the right main landing gear touched down, followed by the nose landing gear. The airplane turned hard to the left, but the airplane was too close to the runway edge to turn and remain on the runway, so the student applied maximum braking and raised the nose to try to slow the airplane. The airplane went down an embankment at an angle, the left wing struck the ground and separated from the fuselage, and the nose landing gear bent aft, which bent the engine mounts and buckled the firewall. The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures 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 student pilot's improper landing flare, which resulted in a bounced landing, subsequent loss of directional control, and the airplane going down an embankment.


Personnel issues Aircraft control - Student/instructed pilot
Aircraft Directional control - Not attained/maintained
Aircraft Landing flare - Not attained/maintained

Factual Information

History of Flight

Landing-flare/touchdown Abnormal runway contact
Landing-flare/touchdown Loss of control on ground (Defining event)
Landing-flare/touchdown Runway excursion
Landing-flare/touchdown Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Student
Age: 34, 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: 03/17/2020
Occupational Pilot:No 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 03/31/2020
Flight Time: 18 hours (Total, all aircraft), 18 hours (Total, this make and model), 4 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 12 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: PIPER
Registration: N9468W
Model/Series: PA-28-235C
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1969
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 28-11193
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Date/Type of Last Inspection:
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2700 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: O-540-B4B5
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 235 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: MLE, 1051 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1825 CDT
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 7000 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling:None 
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 6 knots / 12 knots
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: 
Wind Direction: 180°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 28.77 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 21°C / 4°C
Precipitation and Obscuration:
Departure Point: Columbus, NE (OLU)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR
Destination: Omaha, NE (MLE)
Type of Clearance:None 
Departure Time: 1750 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Millard (MLE)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 1051 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 12
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3801 ft / 75 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: 41.198611, -96.114722 (est)


  1. Third solo cross-country with 18 hours TT? Seriously? Wouldn't I love to hear the (actual) interview of the instructor by the FAA, not just whatever is put in the public record!

    1. Not sure I understand your point. He's pretty much on schedule for a student solo and XC time.