Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Nose Over: Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub, N3681Z; accident occurred June 22, 2020 in Monroe, Union County, North Carolina

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Charlotte, North Carolina

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Monroe, North Carolina 
Accident Number: ERA20CA223
Date & Time: June 22, 2020, 13:34 Local
Registration: N3681Z
Aircraft: Piper PA18
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Nose over/nose down 
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal


The pilot reported that he was returning to his farm and performed both high and low "reconnaissance flights" over the farm field before landing. He stated the landing was normal until the airplane struck some taller weeds in the field and nosed over, substantially damaging the tail. The pilot reported no preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. He stated that he had not expected the weeds to be so high and that cutting all vegetation in the landing area might have prevented the accident.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's inadequate assessment of the landing area, which resulted in the airplane's encounter with tall weeds during landing and a subsequent nose-over.


Personnel issues Identification/recognition - Pilot
Personnel issues Aircraft control - Pilot
Environmental issues (general) - Awareness of condition
Environmental issues (general) - Effect on equipment

Factual Information

History of Flight

Landing-landing roll Nose over/nose down (Defining event)
Landing-landing roll Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline transport; Commercial; Flight instructor
Age: 48, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land; Single-engine sea; Multi-engine land; Multiengine sea
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter 
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane multi-engine; Airplane single-engine; Instrument airplane
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With waivers/limitations 
Last FAA Medical Exam: May 5, 2020
Occupational Pilot: Yes 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: October 14, 2019
Flight Time: 2437.3 hours (Total, all aircraft), 300.1 hours (Total, this make and model), 2299.3 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 38.2 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 23.5 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N3681Z
Model/Series: PA18 150 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1960 
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal 
Serial Number: 18-7410
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: January 13, 2020 100 hour Certified 
Max Gross Wt.: 1750 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 11 Hrs
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 2665.9 Hrs as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C126 installed, not activated 
Engine Model/Series: O-320 A3B
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power: 150 Horsepower
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC) 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: EQY,683 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 2 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 12:53 Local
Direction from Accident Site: 44°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility: 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 10 knots / 17 knots 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: Unknown / Unknown
Wind Direction: 210°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: Unknown / Unknown
Altimeter Setting: 30.02 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 31°C / 21°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Monroe, NC (EQY)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Monroe, NC
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 13:20 Local 
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Charlotte-Monroe Executive EQY
Runway Surface Type: Grass/turf
Airport Elevation: 682 ft msl 
Runway Surface Condition: Vegetation
Runway Used: 
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: Full stop; Traffic pattern

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 34.998889,-80.644165

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