Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Cessna 414, N1996G: Incident occurred June 19, 2022 at Rostraver Airport (KFWQ), Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Allegheny, Pennsylvania

Aircraft experienced brake failure and slid into the grass while landing. 

Date: 19-JUN-22
Time: 17:42:00Z
Regis#: N1996G
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 414
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91

Rostraver Central Fire Department -
This afternoon, RCFD units were dispatched for an Alert 3 at Rostraver Airport. A twin-engine aircraft left the runway on landing and went over an embankment. The crew at the nearby LifeFlight base quickly assessed the pilot, who was not injured. Fire crews contained a small fuel leak before turning the scene over to WCAA personnel. Assisting were Westmoreland County Hazardous Materials Response Team 800, Rostraver West Newton Emergency Services, Rostraver Twp Police Department, Westmoreland County Park Police, and Westmoreland County Airport Authority FD.

BELLE VERNON, Pennsylvania — Caiolinn Ertel shared her story with Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 after an unexpected Sunday afternoon at Rostraver Airport.

“I love flying. It is my happy place,” Ertel said.

It started out as a calm day for Ertel who was visiting her family in Virginia.

“I had a lovely day, and then they brought me to the airport around noon,” Ertel said.

Ertel said her goodbyes and got on her plane.

“I taxi it in, pull it around, put the brakes on, and then I put the throttle up to a pretty high power, and then I look at the engine instruments to make sure everything is in the green, everything is operating properly, it also checks the brakes, so boom everything was great,” Ertel said

It was a smooth take off, but when it was time to land at Rostraver Airport, where her plane is based, things took a turn.

“Touched down, put the brakes on, no brakes. Felt like pressure but nothing, no deceleration at all. Just kept going. I put the flaps up, and I just kept rolling and I am sitting in the back of my seat pushing as hard as I can to get the thing slowed down,” Ertel said.

With 45 years of flying experience, Ertel says training kicked in.

“You just react. Okay, this is an emergency, I may not be able to stop it so that's an accident. How do you minimize it? So you just go into automatic mode,” Ertel said.

Ertel shut the engines down and turned the fuel off to do a controlled crash. The pilot guided her plane off the runway and over this embankment, where it stopped

“It just plopped down,” Ertel said.

Emergency responders arrived on scene within minutes, and fire crews contained a small fuel leak. Ertel says even LifeFlight happened to be at the airport.

Although her plane was damaged in the landing, she walked away without a scratch.

“My kids ask me 'are you going to fly again?' I said 'yeah I would fly right now.' I don't have any problem with it. I had my accident. I think I'm good. Gonna rock and roll it,” Ertel said.

No injuries were reported when the pilot of a Cessna 414 lost control of its brakes Sunday afternoon, causing the airplane to crash at the Rostraver Airport.

Caiolinn Ertel, 61, of Pittsburgh was flying from Leesburg, Virginia, to Rostraver, where her plane is based, when she realized she had lost control of her brakes.

Ertel said everything was working when she took off. It was when she attempted to land that she realized something was wrong.

“Landed, and when I’m way down, I put the flaps up and I said, ‘I’m not coming to a stop.’ So I’m stomping on the brakes trying the get it to stop, nothing’s happening,” Ertel said. “Realize it’s not going to, and so I shut the engines down, put the fuel off and then tried to do a controlled crash.”

Ertel guided the plane off the runway and over a small hillside, where it came to a stop. The nose of the plane and the wings were damaged.

“I wasn’t going maybe 10, 15 mph, and the engines were shut off, so there should be no engine damage — but I don’t know, the plane may be totaled,” Ertel said. “We’ll see what happens. It’s a 45-year-old airplane, though most everything’s new on it.”

There was no damage to the airport or runway. No fuel leaks were reported from the plane.

An official on the scene said they were trying to decide whether they would move the aircraft or keep it where it is for the time being.

Several crews responded to the scene, including the Rostraver Central Fire Department and a medical helicopter in case of injuries.


  1. If possible, and PIC could configure a touch and go alternate from FWQ @ 4002 x 75 ft, to PIT @ 11500 x 200 ft. / 3505 x 61 m
    KFWQ KPIT 313° (NW) 322° (NW) 29 mi

    1. Nope. Complex aircraft and moves fast on touchdown - I have about 200 hours in these. She did the right thing and rode it out on the ground vs. the high risk of a go around where anything can go wrong. She took the lowest risk option and walked away from it. Her good decision making is also noted by her 45 years of flying experience and she's still alive.

    2. By the time I realized it, with windsheer on landing, and not aiming for the numbers due to the direct cross winds gusting to 30 I aimed for 500 in…and you don’t touch down and SLAM on the brakes. Attempting to go take off again was very very high risk of dying. I chose to minimize the damage and live.

    3. Ma’am, regardless of the cause, the outcome is that you’re here. How many pilots do we see die trying to save the plane? I’m just glad you’re okay. I’m sure whatever it was happened quickly and you did the best you could at the time. The plane is now the insurance company’s. Best to you.

    4. To the one advocating a go around and divert to an alternate. NO. Not enough runway. Some else mentioned raising the flaps was an error. Not really on a gusty day. It’s prudent to raise flaps on touch down to minimize a gust lifting you back off. I’m sure she raised the flaps before touching the brakes. Aerodynamic drag from flaps to help slow a rolling airplane is marginal at best. Her best move was to kill the engines and shut off fuel. If she had 10,000 ft none of this would be an issue. Kudos to you and your life saving decision making!!

  2. I have some time in these Chancellors, a 414A. They are on the high end of ownership expense for a piston twin that really does not have a direct competitor these days (cabin class, known icing, and flight level pressurized specifically). I wonder if she had the RAM Series VII engine upgrade like the one I flew had, upping the engines per side from 310hp (same engines as the Cessna 340) to 335hp. It made a difference in performance and was a better fit for the aircraft, especially at load and/or on hot and high days.

    In any event, besides astronomical operating costs, even the general repair costs are equally astronomical. She may want to prepare for the news of this being a write off case by the insurance company. There's a reason you see fewer and fewer of them flying anymore between private and corporate owners.

    1. Between the insurance companies and parts suppliers they do there damndest to thin out the population.

  3. She did a good job under the circumstances. I hope the insurance doesn't throw any curved balls.

    1. Since she had an incident her rates can only go up substantially. If they total the plane the insurance company will low ball the amount and that is that.

  4. Two comments she made that raised my eyebrows. ‘I put the flaps up’. There goes your aerodynamic drag after touchdown with no brakes. Second, ‘I wasn’t going maybe 10, 15 mph,…’. At that speed an attempt to exit the runway at the taxiway could have been made.

    1. More than that raised my eyebrows, if she IS the pilot commenting above on 06/23 @ 7:01 AM

      "windshear on landing,
      not aiming for the numbers,
      direct cross winds gusting to 30
      you don’t touch down and SLAM on the brakes"
      Her post crash interview stated: "I’m stomping on the brakes trying the get it to stop"

      Cessna 414 Chancellor Performance and Handling Specifications:
      Stall Speed (Flaps up), 82 (kts)
      Stall Speed (Flaps down), 71 kts)

      FAA certification requirements:
      "The pilot must be able to control the airplane in 90-degree crosswinds not less than a velocity equal to 0.2 Vso, or the stalling speed of the aircraft in a landing configuration. That's a windspeed equal to at least 20% of the power-off landing configuration stalling speed. Keep in mind, manufacturers can test aircraft at crosswind velocities higher than 0.2 Vso (and they often do), but that's the minimum speed."

      In addition to the 0.2 Vso limitation, "The airplane must be satisfactorily controllable in power-off landings at normal landing speed, without using brakes or engine power to maintain a straight path until the speed has decreased to at least 50 percent of the speed at touchdown." (FAA)

      Finally, every airplane certificated after May 3rd, 1962, is required to have a "demonstrated crosswind velocity" placard inside the airplane.
      Crosswind Hazard Chart:



    2. What do these certification requirements have to do with this brake failure?

      "Stomping" on the brakes doesn't mean that was how the first application was done at touchdown, I think she meant after the expected deceleration was not felt...any deviation from normal brake action would cause most people to become alarmed in about a quarter second. I would sure stomp on a firm pedal that didn't cause any braking...

      I think she worked with what she had..shutting off fuel and engines was a good move- why not do it when you have a few seconds of rolling along waiting to loose speed? Idling engines still produce thrust...a few more mph at the end might have resulted in a fuel leak, fire, death..

      Good job.

    3. Why didn't she pull the parking brake?

    4. The 414 parking brake is just a valve in the hydraulic lines to the main gear brakes that can be closed to trap fluid pressure that has already been applied. It isn't a pull cable that applies brakes mechanically like automobiles have.

  5. She didn't a good job with the brake failure emergency. She has a great attitude as well, good for her. Any armchair pilot on this board trying to say something else is a jerk.

  6. Not risking going straight off the over run on runway centerline was a good decision. The side-out path eliminated the possibility of intercepting cars or trucks on the four lane ahead:
    Street view:

  7. "STANDARD DATA: (Chancellor) Landing distance (50′) 2,393" for FWQ @ 4002 x 75 ft.

  8. I think I would go around, assess the situation and probably look for a nice long runway with emergency equipment standing by.

    1. "Takeoff distance (50′) 2,595"

    2. Go-Around is not a safe option at this point, not enough runway left. She did the right thing.

  9. The expense of these high performance twin recips is not the price of the aircraft somuch but the high $ maintenance these girls demand.
    On tradeaplane today there's nice looking 1976 414A, 4865hrs TT w/38 hrs SMOH on both engines with modern Garmin IFR mfd stack of avionics for $275K. Thats far less than what a nice 20 yr old C182turbo goes for. that tells you where the expense of ownership is, and the market demand.

    1. ^^As mentioned above, I flew them. I signed the MRO slips to pass along to my boss who wrote the checks. And they were big ass checks.

  10. She's a FB Friend and very experienced pilot. She did the right thing and the pilot community said as much. Glad she wasn't hurt and will be back at it.

  11. It is natural to look at a story like this and evaluate possible alternate actions, leading to some "I would have gone around" comments. This pilot walked away unscathed because the lowest energy dissipation option was chosen. It was the bird in the hand versus the unknowns of making a rushed go-around.

    Celebrate this pilot's decision. She did well.

    1. Caiolinn, All of your pontificating anonymous comments are quite amusing, and how you keep patting yourself on the back to justify your decision making.
      Actually, it was very poor ADM. If "she" knew there was windshear, direct 30 kt winds, possibly exceeding "her" and the aircrafts capability, "she" could/should have diverted to a more favorable landing environment close by. Like you said above, "If she had 10,000 ft, none of this would be an issue" and, you would still have an undamaged aircraft.

      The NTSB will tell the real story on whether "she" made the right decision.
      In the end though, I'm glad you are OK.

    2. The accident pilot didn't write the June 28, 2022 at 7:24:00 AM EDT comment that was replied to, or this one.

      POH landing distance numbers reflect testing done with functional wheel brakes. The accident day conditions obviously didn't exceed pilot or aircraft capability to get wheels on pavement with that distance remaining. Bashing the pilot for not having foreknowledge that brake failure was going to occur after weight on wheels seems presumptuous.

      If there is a Garmin or Foreflight "Psychic Friends Network" plugin being sold that will foretell about such things, information on how to operate the plugin needs to be added to landing distance reference materials. :-)

  12. "Obviously didn't exceed pilot or aircraft capability." Apparently, it did, or the aircraft would not be Destroyed. She should have been able to stop the aircraft before the end of the runway, if she had executed a proper and controlled approach even with NO brakes. Bad ADM.
    There is such a service.... and it's free! It's called AWOS.
    If I heard this on AWOS, Caution windshear, Direct 30 kt crosswind I defiantly would have diverted to a more favorable landing environment.

    I noticed she did have an instructor rating at one time that expired back in the 80's. She should have known better.
    Like I said earlier, the NTSB will determine the probable cause.


    506 N SULLIVAN RD STE F161

    Medical Information:
    Medical Class: Third Medical Date: 5/2021
    BasicMed Course Date: None BasicMed CMEC Date: None


    Certificates Description
    Certificate: FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR
    Date of Issue: 12/9/1981



    1. The claim then is that every aircraft, for every landing must be able to roll out to a stop with no wheel brakes at all? Sure, Jan...

      Great idea and relieves all pilots, even air carriers from having to assess runway surface condition now that "no wheel brakes" is the proper ADM every time, using that "PsyFrNet" malfunction prediction plugin. Thanks for the chuckle!