Friday, December 23, 2022

Piper PA-28-181, N4400F: Incident occurred December 22, 2022 and Accident occurred February 04, 2020

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Scottsdale, Arizona

December 22, 2022:Aircraft landed, braked too hard and spun out on the runway and went into the dirt at Falcon Field Airport (KFFZ), Mesa, Maricopa County, Arizona.

CAE Oxford Aviation Academy Phoenix Inc

Date: 22-DEC-22
Time: 20:08:00Z
Regis#: N4400F
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA28
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Flight Crew: 1 No Injuries 
Pax: 0
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: FAR 141 PILOT SCHOOL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
Flight Number: OXF3571
City: MESA

February 04, 2020:  Loss of Control on Ground at Falcon Field Airport (KFFZ), Mesa, Maricopa County, Arizona.

View of Right Wing

Root View of Left Flap and Aileron 

View of Right Wing

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity: 

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Scottsdale, Arizona

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Mesa, Arizona 
Accident Number: WPR20CA088
Date and Time: February 4, 2020, 15:02 Local
Registration: N4400F
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-181
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control on ground
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Instructional


The flight instructor reported that she briefed the soft-field takeoff procedure with the student pilot while holding short for the active runway. After the flight was cleared for takeoff, the student aligned the airplane with the runway centerline, advanced the throttle to the full-power position, and released aft pressure from the yoke. During the ground roll, the instructor briefly lost sight of the runway, and when the runway reappeared, she saw the airplane rapidly veering left. The instructor applied full right rudder and right aileron, but the airplane continued veering left. Unable to stop the turn, the instructor reduced engine power but quickly restored it with the intent of flying the airplane back to the runway because the airplane had become airborne. However, the airplane then rolled left, the stall horn sounded, and the airplane touched down on the taxiway and impacted a parked airplane. The right wing and left aileron sustained substantial damage. The instructor and student reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that could have precluded normal operation.

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 and the flight instructor's inadequate remediation during a short-field takeoff, which resulted in impact with a parked airplane. 


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

Factual Information

History of Flight

Takeoff Loss of control on ground (Defining event)
Takeoff Attempted remediation/recovery
Takeoff Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Flight Instructor Information

Certificate: Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 26, Female
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Single-engine
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 1 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 12/14/2019
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 07/21/2019
Flight Time:  679.4 hours (Total, all aircraft), 49.6 hours (Total, this make and model), 584.4 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 115.9 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 42.4 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 8.1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Student Pilot Information

Certificate: None
Age: 23, Male
Airplane Rating(s):None 
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 1 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 10/25/2019
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  13 hours (Total, all aircraft), 13 hours (Total, this make and model), 13 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 13 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: PIPER
Registration: N4400F
Model/Series: PA-28-181
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2019
Amateur Built: No 
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 2881139
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 01/30/2020, AAIP
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2558 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 25 Hours
Engines:  Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 1313.4 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming Engines
ELT: C126 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-360-A4M
Registered Owner: CAE Oxford Aviation Academy Phoenix
Rated Power: 180 hp
Operator: CAE Oxford Aviation Academy Phoenix
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Pilot School (141)

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation:
Distance from Accident Site:
Observation Time: 1454 MST
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Light and Variable /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: Variable
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 29.94 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 11°C / -13°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Mesa, AZ (FFZ)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Mesa, AZ (FFZ)
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time: 1502 MST
Type of Airspace: Class D

Airport Information

Airport: Falcon Field (FFZ)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 1394 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry 
Runway Used: 22L
IFR Approach: None 
Runway Length/Width: 5100 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 33.461111, -111.723889 (est)


  1. Whomever wrote the “Owner/Operator Safety Recommendation” should take the time to read the AFM for the PA28 where under normal and amplified procedures the use of 25 degree flap setting is specified for soft field takes with and without obstacle clearance.

  2. Did the instructor fall asleep for a few seconds or maybe was playing with her cellphone? Just wondering because of the line in the report that says, "During the ground roll, the instructor briefly lost sight of the runway..."

    How does *that* happen?

  3. A soft field takeoff involves raising the nose wheel off the runway to simulate avoiding the surface. AFM recommendation for flap setting should be followed. Done properly, the pilot stops increasing the pitch before the nose rises too high and obscures forward visibility. This is a difficult maneuver for student pilots and mistakes are common until they develop the coordination of balancing the airplane on the main gear and accelerating with the nose raised. If an instructor perceives improper control input the takeoff should immediately be aborted to avoid loss of control. Fortunately, no one was injured in this accident. (Highly unlikely the CFI was on a cell phone and such comments are not helpful).

    1. What qualifies you to say my comment was "not helpful"?

      As a long-time holder of a Commercial certificate, flying for years off grass runways, I think I'm qualified to say that while the airplane is still on the ground, in an airplane like a PA-28, the nose is not necessarily raised so high that a normal size instructor cannot see the runway over the instrument panel while still on the ground.

      And even if the nose *is* that high for a few seconds, if the instructor is paying attention, the instructor would still be able to see ahead enough to tell if the airplane is going straight or not.

      But the report says that "During the ground roll, the instructor briefly lost sight of the runway, and when the runway reappeared, she saw the airplane rapidly veering left." How or why would she lose sight of the runway and not notice the airplane veering to one side or another while instructing a student on a soft-field takeoff?

      It's a valid question to wonder if she was looking at her cellphone (as so many people do) or for some other reason was not paying enough attention.

    2. In the full 6120 detail, the instructor saw that they were 10 feet left of centerline after the nose came back down. For Falcon Field's 100 foot wide RW22L that displacement is not a big peripheral vision signal. After reading the docket, it turns out that the 8:17 PM poster was correct about "asleep or phone gazing" not being a helpful evaluation.

    3. An instructor is responsible for safety on all training flights and must always intervene as necessary to prevent accidents such as in this report. An instructor also must allow students leeway within strict safety parameters to develop the skill to perform maneuvers. It’s a difficult balance faced by every CFI. A training benchmark is when the instructor observes the student recognize safety limits and is able to operate without the instructor assistance or intervention.

      Accident reports are excellent learning tools. Kathryn’s Report presents actual reports and other publicly available data in a user friendly, accessible website for which I am grateful. I assume other instructors read these reports and also learn from them. I found the suggestion that this CFI was asleep or using her cell phone to be flippant and unhelpful. The commenter is free to express his/her opinions but I am also free to dissent.

  4. Sorry folks, but females account for accidents far greater than their share of the pilot population and are more likely to be categorized as “aircraft mishandling”.