Saturday, March 13, 2021

Loss of Control on Ground: Cessna 172N Skyhawk, N52168; accident occurred March 09, 2020 at Big Lake Airport (PAGQ), Alaska

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Anchorage, Alaska

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Flight Safety Alaska Inc

Location: Big Lake, AK
Accident Number: ANC20CA032
Date & Time: 03/09/2020, 2030 AKD
Registration: N52168
Aircraft: Cessna 172
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Collision during takeoff/land
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 


The pilot reported that he was attempting to take off from a snow-covered runway and that, during the first attempt, the airplane failed to generate enough airspeed, so he aborted the takeoff and exited the runway. On his second attempt, he chose to begin the takeoff roll with a high-speed taxi on a taxiway before turning 90° to enter the runway. Just before entering the runway, the airplane hit a dip in the taxiway, and the airplane veered left and impacted a snow berm, which resulted in substantial damage to the right wing. The pilot reported several ways that the accident could have been prevented, including parking the airplane and waiting for a snowplow to clear the runway. In addition, he indicated that he was fatigued and that his judgment and decision-making abilities were compromised.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's improper decision to initiate the takeoff roll from a snow-covered taxiway, which resulted in a loss of directional control, runway excursion, and impact with a snow berm.


Personnel issues Decision making/judgment - Pilot
Personnel issues Aircraft control - Pilot
Aircraft Directional control - Not attained/maintained
Environmental issues Snow/slush/ice covered surface - Decision related to condition
Environmental issues Snow/ice - Effect on operation
Personnel issues (general) - Pilot

Factual Information

History of Flight

Takeoff Miscellaneous/other
Takeoff Loss of control on ground (Defining event)
Takeoff Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 43, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land; Single-engine Sea
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s):None 
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Multi-engine; Airplane Single-engine; Instrument Airplane
Toxicology Performed:
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 01/13/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 12/08/2019
Flight Time:   2796 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1500 hours (Total, this make and model), 2689 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 100 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 25 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N52168
Model/Series: 172 N
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1979
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 17273457
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection:  100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2300 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C126 installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: O-320-D2J
Registered Owner: Flight Safety Alaska Inc
Rated Power: 160 hp
Operator: Flight Safety Alaska Inc
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Pilot School (141) 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation: PAYS
Distance from Accident Site: 8 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 0456 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 90°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 6500 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 6 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: 260°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting:
Temperature/Dew Point: -5°C / -7°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Big Lake, AK (BGQ)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Anchorage, AK (MRI)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time:  AKD
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Big Lake (BGQ)
Runway Surface Type: Gravel
Airport Elevation: 157 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Snow
Runway Used: 07
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 2450 ft / 70 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None

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: 61.534722, -149.812500

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