Sunday, March 28, 2021

Aerodynamic Stall / Spin: Cessna 172P Skyhawk II, N54222; accident occurred April 02, 2019 at Oconee County Regional Airport (KCEU), Clemson, South Carolina


Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration Flight Standards District Office; West Columbia, South Carolina

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Clemson, SC

Accident Number: GAA19CA194
Date & Time: 04/02/2019, 1630 EST
Registration: N54222
Aircraft: Cessna 172
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Aerodynamic stall/spin
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional


The solo student pilot reported that, during landing, as the nosewheel touched down on the runway, he felt a "strong vibration," and the airplane veered left. He tried to correct by pulling back on the yoke, but the airplane became airborne and continued veering left, and the left wing impacted a ramp left of the runway.

Examination of video surveillance revealed that, shortly after landing, the airplane veered left. The airplane then became airborne, aerodynamically stalled, and the left wing dropped and impacted the ramp.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing.

The manager 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 during the landing roll and his exceedance of the airplane's critical angle of attack when it inadvertently became airborne, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall. 


Angle of attack - Capability exceeded (Cause)
Directional control - Not attained/maintained (Cause)

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Student pilot (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Loss of control on ground
Attempted remediation/recovery
Aerodynamic stall/spin (Defining event)

Student Pilot Information

Certificate: Student
Age: 32, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s):None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 1 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 10/19/2018
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 59.5 hours (Total, all aircraft), 59.5 hours (Total, this make and model), 7.6 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 30.1 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 13.6 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 3.9 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N54222
Model/Series: 172 P
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1981
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal; Utility
Serial Number: 17274926
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 03/27/2019, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2550 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 3138 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C126 installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: O-360-A4M
Registered Owner: Velocity Aviation Llc
Rated Power: 180 hp
Operator: Velocity Aviation Llc
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light:Day 
Observation Facility, Elevation: KCEU, 891 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 2054 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 272°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 7500 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Light and Variable /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: Variable
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.09 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 15°C / -2°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Lawrenceville, GA (LZU)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR
Destination: Clemson, SC (CEU)
Type of Clearance: VFR Flight Following
Departure Time: 1530 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 890 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 25
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 5000 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop; Traffic Pattern 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 34.671944, -82.883611 (est)


  1. Hmmm...Pilot claims he flared, mains touched down, then nosewheel, yet he was able to become airborne with light backpressure on the yoke.

    There's no way he could have had enough energy to lift off again in a normal landing. He forced it on, pushed the nose down and got a shimmy because he was going too fast. Then he panicked, got airborne again because he was too fast, then wadded up the poor 172.

    If a student can't perform a normal landing in essentially zero wind conditions on a 5000 foot runway after almost 60 hours of training, the student should find another hobby.

    1. "If a student can't perform a normal landing in essentially zero wind conditions on a 5000 foot runway after almost 60 hours of training, the student should find another hobby."

      You beat me to it. These events seem to be on the increase at least in reports on KR: unusually high time student solos who wind up in an accident report over a basic skill they should have mastered by 20 hours at the most as a slow learner. But, you have starving CFIs and flight schools who will gladly continue taking their money when they should just give it up. And here we are. Again. I just wonder how much this increases flight school costs for competent student pilots (who should have a PPL by 50 hours at most) because of insurance losses.

    2. And just because you can "fly" X-Plane or Microsoft MSFS does not mean you can fly the real thing (bad habits start with PC-based flight sims vs. starting out cold turkey in the real world unless you are truly a natural pilot of which there are...this guy not being one of them).

    3. I think PC sims get too much grief. I've only found them to be helpful - particularly for IFR training/currency, but also for avionics training (huge help for me with the 430). No, they're not much use for judging flare, but you can use them to practice power management.


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