Friday, September 03, 2021

Loss of Control on Ground: Cessna 170A, N170JS; accident occurred September 03, 2020 at Morrisville-Stowe State Airport (KMVL), Lamoille County, Vermont

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

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

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Portland, Maine
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

DocJosh Ltd

Location: Morrisville, Vermont
Accident Number: ERA20CA307
Date & Time: September 3, 2020, 11:21 Local 
Registration: N170JS
Aircraft: Cessna 170
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control on ground
Injuries: 2 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal


According to the right seat pilot/owner of the tailwheel-equipped airplane, she was demonstrating a short field takeoff to the passenger on a grass area adjacent to the airport’s single paved runway. After adding power and releasing the brakes, the airplane veered to the left toward a ditch between the grass area and the paved runway. The pilot attempted to steer away from the ditch by applying rudder control inputs but was unsuccessful. As the airplane approached the ditch she elected to rotate. The airplane briefly became airborne then stalled and impacted terrain. The pilot and the passenger were seriously injured and the airplane’s fuselage and both wings were substantially damaged. The pilot reported that there were no preimpact 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 and subsequent exceedance of the airplane's critical angle of attack during takeoff, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall and collision with terrain.


Aircraft Directional control - Not attained/maintained
Personnel issues Aircraft control - Pilot
Aircraft Angle of attack - Capability exceeded

Factual Information

History of Flight

Takeoff Loss of control on ground (Defining event)
Initial climb Loss of control in flight

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 56,Female
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land; Single-engine sea
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane 
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None 
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With waivers/limitations 
Last FAA Medical Exam: April 22, 2019
Occupational Pilot: No 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: 2200 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1400 hours (Total, this make and model), 2200 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 55.8 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 12.7 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna 
Registration: N170JS
Model/Series: 170A
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1950 
Amateur Built:
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal 
Serial Number: 19546
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel 
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: October 14, 2019 Annual 
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2200 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 5720 Hrs at time of accident 
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91 installed, not activated 
Engine Model/Series: O-360-A1A
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power: 180 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: KMVL,732 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 11:45 Local
Direction from Accident Site: 356°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Visibility: 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 2900 ft AGL
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:  /
Wind Direction: 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:  /
Altimeter Setting: 29.84 inches Hg 
Temperature/Dew Point: 19°C / 16°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Morrisville, VT T
ype of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Morrisville, VT
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time:
Type of Airspace: Class E

Airport Information

Airport: Morrisville-Stowe State MVL 
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 732 ft msl 
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 01
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3700 ft / 75 ft 
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: Aircraft
Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Serious 
Latitude, Longitude: 44.536945,-72.613891(est)


  1. So, blame loss of control on the ditch, that she knew was there.

  2. Gotta blame might as well be a ditch.

  3. The ditch monster again. Just saw a video of Taiwan f-16 roll into ditch while landing. This particular plane was a beauty with upgrades similar to my plane. Blaming others is very normal. If you respond honestly you will then be criticized by the couch flying trolls that what want you to believe they are experts. This information is an opportunity to learn many things about flying. Commenters mostly useless.