Monday, September 06, 2021

Loss of Control on Ground: Cessna 172N Skyhawk, N7562F; accident occurred September 13, 2020 at Pearland Regional Airport (KLVJ), Brazoria County, Texas

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Houston, Texas

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Green Airports Development Corp

Location: Houston, Texas
Accident Number: CEN20CA393
Date & Time: September 13, 2020, 15:35 Local 
Registration: N7562F
Aircraft: Cessna 172
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control on ground
Injuries: 1 Minor, 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Instructional


The student pilot and his flight instructor were on an instructional flight when the airplane suddenly veered to the right upon landing. The flight instructor stated that his student had simply lost control upon touchdown. The flight instructor reported that he took control of the airplane from his student, but he was unable to regain directional control of the airplane before it departed off the right side of the runway and nosed over. The engine mount, left wing strut, left wing main spar, vertical stabilizer, and the rudder were substantially damaged. The flight instructor reported no mechanical malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded its normal operation. The student pilot reported that they had completed 3 uneventful landings before the accident.

The student pilot had observed some stiffness in the rudder system during his preflight inspection, the rudder did not self-center while on the ground at slow speeds, and that the cockpit floor carpet was loose and had to be repositioned several times during the flight. An examination of the airplane wreckage revealed impact-related damage to the rudder that precluded its movement, but there were no additional flight control issues observed. Examination revealed the cockpit floor carpet was loose and bunched-up, but it could not be determined if it had contributed to the loss of directional control or had become unsecured while the pilots made their emergency exit following the accident.

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 directional control upon landing.


Aircraft Directional control - Not attained/maintained
Personnel issues Aircraft control - Student/instructed pilot

Factual Information

History of Flight

Landing Loss of control on ground (Defining event)
Landing-landing roll Runway excursion
Landing-landing roll Nose over/nose down

Flight instructor Information

Certificate: Airline transport; Flight instructor
Age: 83, 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: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With waivers/limitations 
Last FAA Medical Exam: March 27, 2019
Occupational Pilot: No 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: February 12, 2019
Flight Time: (Estimated) 28580 hours (Total, all aircraft), 2000 hours (Total, this make and model), 28270 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 200 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 90 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 8 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Student pilot Information

Certificate: Student
Age: 41, 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: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without waivers/limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: September 14, 2018
Occupational Pilot: No 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: (Estimated) 22.5 hours (Total, all aircraft), 15.1 hours (Total, this make and model), 6 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna 
Registration: N7562F
Model/Series: 172N 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1980
Amateur Built:
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 17273260
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: September 3, 2020 100 hour 
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2400 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 6324.5 Hrs as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed, not activated 
Engine Model/Series: O-320-H2AD
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power: 160 Horsepower
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC) 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: LVJ,44 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 15:53 Local 
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 4300 ft AGL 
Visibility: 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 11000 ft AGL
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 6 knots / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: Unknown / Unknown
Wind Direction: 40° 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: Unknown / Unknown
Altimeter Setting: 29.87 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 34°C / 21°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Houston, TX (AXH)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Houston, TX
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time: 15:00 Local 
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Pearland Regional Airport LVJ 
Runway Surface Type: Concrete
Airport Elevation: 44 ft msl
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 14 
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:4313 ft / 75 ft 
VFR Approach/Landing: Traffic pattern

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor, 1 None 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries:
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor, 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 29.521389,-95.242225 (est)


  1. rusty muscle memory!
    very active CFI, 90 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 8 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

  2. "The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
    The student pilot’s failure to maintain directional control upon landing."

    That's it? No mention of the instructor's failure to contain the situation whatsoever or at the very least see that the student was in trouble until it was too late? How long were they on the ground before loss of control for example?

    Besides that, an 83 year old instructor with a lifetime of likely military and airline hours is not a bad thing on paper, but when an emergency happens, reaction times count. And I'm sorry, but an 83 year old instructor does not have the reaction time between the brain and muscle reflex needed when seconds count.

  3. The swerve off of the runway could have been instantaneous. No time to react. I had a nose wheel off center due to a carpet issue, just like what the student described. In my case I was able to overpower the jam and use differential braking before it got completely out of hand. I was on a 100 foot wide runway in a Beech Bonanza v35 with no crosswind. I ended up coming very, very close to a runway edge light. Their runway looks to be pretty narrow, no flaps would infer higher landing speed and they had a crosswind. All adding to the problem.
    Not to say the carpet caused this crash, but for those of you that fly .. making sure the carpet rudder slots are positioned and secure are part of my checklist in planes other than mine. Carpet in my plane is held in place with generous amounts of Velcro.
    Comment above about age .. you are right. With age comes experience, but hampered by decision time and confusion. I’m part of the aged crowd and am aware that my reaction times are slower.

  4. Really depends on the individuals. I know an 85 year-old pilot I'd fly with any day. I know several pilots under 40 who I won't fly with ever, cocky risks takers