Friday, December 31, 2021

Loss of Control on Ground: Piper PA-28-140, N4281J; accident occurred June 15, 2021 at Ozark-Blackwell Field Airport (71J), Dale County, Alabama

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; Alabama

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: 
Location: Ozark, Alabama
Accident Number: ERA21LA254
Date and Time: June 15, 2021, 19:25 Local
Registration: N4281J
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-140
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control on ground
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Instructional


The student pilot was landing the airplane in a crosswind and reported that on final approach a gust of wind pushed the airplane to the right of centerline. As it crossed the runway numbers the pilot applied “too much” back pressure, the airplane ballooned, bounced, and settled onto the runway. The airplane then began to veer to the right, and pilot attempted to correct the movement but overcorrected and the airplane veered to the left into the grass. The pilot realized that the airplane was not slowing, applied “more pressure” to the brakes, but the airplane proceeded down an incline. The nose landing gear then collapsed, and the airplane nosed over coming to rest inverted resulting in substantial damage to the fuselage cabin, rudder, and left wing. The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures 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 during a crosswind landing, which resulted in a runway excursion.


Aircraft Directional control - Not attained/maintained
Personnel issues Aircraft control - Pilot
Environmental issues Crosswind - Response/compensation

Factual Information

History of Flight

Landing-landing roll Loss of control on ground (Defining event)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Student 
Age: 34, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None 
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Lap only
Instrument Rating(s): None 
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None 
Toxicology Performed:
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without waivers/limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: November 16, 2020
Occupational Pilot: No 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: (Estimated) 20.3 hours (Total, all aircraft), 20 hours (Total, this make and model), 3.4 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper 
Registration: N4281J
Model/Series: PA-28-140 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1967
Amateur Built:
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal 
Serial Number: 28-22641
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle 
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: May 24, 2021 Annual 
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2150 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 4470 Hrs at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-320-E2A
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power: 140 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: HEY,317 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 5 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 19:58 Local
Direction from Accident Site: 205°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility: 8 miles
Lowest Ceiling: Unknown 
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 4 knots / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:  /
Wind Direction: 230° 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:  /
Altimeter Setting: 29.9 inches Hg 
Temperature/Dew Point: 27°C / 22°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Ozark, AL 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Ozark, AL 
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time:
Type of Airspace:

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 357 ft msl
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 13/31 IFR 
Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 5152 ft / 80 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Full stop

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 31.432919,-85.622618

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