Sunday, July 25, 2021

Loss of Control in Flight: Piper PA-28-181 Archer TX, N7114C; accident occurred April 22, 2021 near Faribault Municipal Airport (KFBL), Rice County, Minnesota

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board 

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident. 

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Minneapolis, Minnesota

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:
Location: Faribault, Minnesota
Accident Number: CEN21LA197
Date & Time: April 22, 2021, 14:15 Local
Registration: N7114C
Aircraft: Piper PA28
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight 
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Instructional


The flight instructor reported that, while the student pilot was conducting his fourth takeoff during his first flight lesson, the airplane encountered a wind gust and entered a “sharp” left turn toward a tree line. The flight instructor took control of the airplane, verified the throttle was at full power, and adjusted the airplane’s pitch for best angle of climb airspeed. He thought the airplane had cleared the trees; however, the aft fuselage or empennage struck some branches causing the airplane to lose airspeed. The airplane entered a descent and impacted a field on the other side of the tree line. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing, left horizontal stabilizer, and the fuselage. The flight instructor reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. At the time of the accident, the student pilot was taking off on runway 30 with wind from 270° at 11 knots with gusts to 15 knots.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The student pilot’s failure to maintain control during takeoff in gusty wind conditions and the flight instructor’s delayed remedial action, which resulted in the airplane colliding with trees and subsequently the ground. 


Aircraft Directional control - Not attained/maintained
Environmental issues Gusts - Effect on operation
Personnel issues Aircraft control - Student/instructed pilot
Personnel issues Delayed action - Instructor/check pilot

Factual Information

History of Flight

Takeoff Loss of control in flight (Defining event)
Initial climb Collision during takeoff/land
Emergency descent Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial; Flight instructor
Age: 25,Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land; Multi-engine land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane 
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane multi-engine; Airplane single-engine; Instrument airplane
Toxicology Performed:
Medical Certification: Class 1 With waivers/limitations 
Last FAA Medical Exam: September 16, 2019
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: August 14, 2020
Flight Time: 710 hours (Total, all aircraft), 460 hours (Total, this make and model), 648 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 190 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 60 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Student pilot Information

Certificate: None 
Age: 34,Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed:
Medical Certification: None 
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: No 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: 1 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1 hours (Total, this make and model), 1 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper 
Registration: N7114C
Model/Series: PA28 181 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2017
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal; Utility
Serial Number: 2843913
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle 
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: March 24, 2021 Continuous airworthiness
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2550 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 48.4 Hrs 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 890.2 Hrs 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: 
Rated Power: 180 Horsepower
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC)
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: FCM,1060 ft msl 
Distance from Accident Site: 0.3 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 13:53 Local 
Direction from Accident Site: 45°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 9000 ft AGL 
Visibility: 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 10 knots / 17 knots 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:  /
Wind Direction: 290°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:  /
Altimeter Setting: 29.95 inches Hg 
Temperature/Dew Point: 17°C / -4°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Eden Prairie, MN (FCM) 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Faribault, MN
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 13:00 Local
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Fairbault Muni FBL
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 1060 ft msl 
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 30
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 4257 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Touch and go; Traffic pattern

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 44.329,-93.3131


  1. "Well unlike you guys we have G1000s" said the instructor involved in the crash. Two questions: 1) what the hell is that supposed to mean and 2) that attitude is NOT conducive to the professionalism and trust character of who an instructor is. I hope his CFO reads this report, and more importantly, those nonchalant words after what could have been a two fatal crash at his sign off.

  2. That was his last instructional flight for the flight school.