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Author Topic: N9926Q Fatal Crash at PTK 6/22/2013  (Read 29495 times)
joeyb747
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Nothing Like A 747!


« Reply #15 on: June 29, 2013, 08:08:02 AM »

I just taxied by the accident site ... It's a little north and east of the departure end of 9L ... From what I've heard, It seems the pilot left his flaps down (40 degrees) on takeoff ... As many of you know, a 172 won't climb with full flaps at any weight.

Is it SOP to set the flaps full on a 172 for take-off?? I am confused why the flaps were set to full in the first place...9L is almost 5700 feet long...defiantly not a short field...

It would be SOP to fully extend the flaps during the walkaround in order to check the flap extension mechanism for freedom of motion.  You would then retract them sometime before takeoff.  The 172M POH has this in the Before Takeoff checklist, though my practice is to do it right after engine start and then recheck.

A normal or short field takeoff is with flaps 0, and a soft field takeoff may be done with flaps 10.  "Flap settings greater than 10 degrees are not approved for takeoff."


And @ Robert Larson;
That was what I was thinking it was...flaps 0 for take-off...
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mybad67
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« Reply #16 on: June 29, 2013, 06:16:51 PM »

It might be possible that he took off with 0 flaps, and once he realized he was heavy, He may have dumped in the 40 degrees while trying to land.

Just a thought
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StuSEL
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« Reply #17 on: July 07, 2013, 01:06:57 AM »

I'm not arguing against the idea that you should be cautious and definitely make sure you've done the calculations, (and check in on anyone you see doing the same) but it's not like 4 adults in a 172 is a guaranteed fatal.

Yes, you're absolutely right. The comments I had made were under the assumption that the accident was caused by an overweight issue. Given the NTSB's statement, it looks like this has more to do with the flap setting. I've flown with 4 people in a C172SP in the past, with enough fuel to put us over by literally a pound or two. Flights in the C172M are doable if you're overweight, but I wouldn't be one to do that.

I fly an identical model 172M, and the checklists we use call for the flaps to be put all the way down during the preflight, as do all C172s. The second item we perform on the Engine Start Checklist after the engine is started is to raise the flaps. During the Before Takeoff Checklist, the flaps are checked again. This could be a case of simply not following the checklist.

I still believe the student knew he was overweight before he departed. During the failing climb out, it seems he jumped to the immediate conclusion that he was having a problem due to this overweight condition, which was perhaps on his conscience as a new pilot. I doubt he realized at any point that the flaps were the issue.
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martyj19
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« Reply #18 on: February 17, 2014, 09:07:02 PM »

I have been keeping an eye on this one.  The NTSB probable cause report was recently released.

The pilot's failure to retract the wing flaps before attempting to take off, due to his lack of familiarity with the airplane make and model, which prevented the airplane from maintaining adequate altitude for takeoff.

http://www.ntsb.gov/aviationquery/brief.aspx?ev_id=20130621X52631&key=1
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svoynick
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« Reply #19 on: February 18, 2014, 02:49:43 AM »

Interesting note here (to me, anyway...)  According to the NTSB report it appears that the aircraft was NOT overweight (although quite close to max gross.)  Which leads me to some interesting thoughts.  

First, given that he communicated to the tower that he was "a little overweight" - when he apparently was just within gross, according to the manufacturer's calculations in the NTSB report - makes me wonder whether he did a weight & balance calculation in the first place.  And if he didn't, but (correctly) suspected he was close, I wonder if, when he found he had poor climb performance, he jumped to the wrong conclusion, and focused in on the "overweight" issue, possibly missing the flaps.

Another interesting point, if he had recognized the flaps issue - possibly even if he had noticed earlier in the takeoff - the NTSB report points out a significant difference between the SR20 flap actuator and the one in the 172, in that, in the Cirrus, you move the actuator to a detent command position that you want the flaps to go to, then you can turn your attention (and your hand) elsewhere while they transition.  In the 172, the actuator is a spring-loaded "up/down" switch, and you have to actuate and hold the lever until the flaps actually reach the desired position.  

I wonder if, having taken virtually all his training hours in the Cirrus, and likely being a low-time pilot in the Cessna according to the report, whether he might have reverted to instinct during a high-workload moment, and thought he commanded the flaps to retract by briefly flipping the Cessna actuator "full up", and then letting go of it (which is how you'd do it in the Cirrus.)  However, in the Cessna, this would leave the flaps essentially fully down (if they were there to start with.)

Note: these comments are speculation - guesses.  I mean no disrespect to the pilot, nor is this intended as a personal judgment or "piling on" - only trying to draw lessons about cockpit procedures, problem solving, and decision making from the example this provides.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2014, 02:54:19 AM by svoynick » Logged
frcabot
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« Reply #20 on: February 18, 2014, 04:26:14 AM »

Having flown 172s extensively, including M, N, P, R and S models, I have only ever seen detent flap selectors (i.e., select 10, 20, 30, or in the case of the 172M and N models, 40 degrees -- later models reduced maximum flaps to 30 degrees partly because the 172 would not climb at all with 40 degree flaps, even with full power, and this was potentially an issue during a go-around if the pilot forgot to retract flaps to 20 degrees, as evidenced by this crash).
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frcabot
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« Reply #21 on: February 18, 2014, 04:30:19 AM »

BTW I realize the NTSB report states that the 172M flaps use a spring-loaded switch that must be held down, but I have NEVER seen such a switch in a 172. Every Cessna I've ever flown had a set-it-and-forget-it selector. Maybe this plane's configuration was an exception.

It is common practice to lower the flaps during the preflight inspection and raise them after. Witness(es?) stated that the plane was attempting to take off with flaps down, so it does not appear that the pilot simply lowered the flaps once he realized he was going to crash, as someone suggested here. From the NTSB report:

"Another witness, a pilot, was approaching runway 09L for landing. As he turned onto the base leg for runway 09L, N9926Q lifted off the runway. The pilot-witness noticed the airplane was not climbing as it should and it appeared the flaps were extended. As he turned onto final approach for landing, he saw the airplane "lagging" and "wallowing in the air with flaps extended." As he flared for landing, he heard the pilot of N9926Q tell the control tower that he was a little overweight and needed to return. The witness then saw the airplane about 100 to 200 feet in the air over the threshold of runway 27R, and its wings were "shaky." The left wing dipped and the airplane descended, struck the ground with its left wing, and pivoted 180 degrees. When the airplane struck the ground, a big divot of dirt was thrown into the air. A fire ball erupted about 3 to 5 seconds after impact."

Another witness however stated that the engine was "spitting and sputtering," then became quiet and lost power, then began "spitting and sputtering" again. The NTSB did not seem to credit this witness's account as the probable cause statement mentions nothing about engine problems, and attributes the crash to improper flap selection on takeoff. On the other hand, the engine had 2,352.8 hours SMOH, which is well over the 2000 TBO recommendation (i.e., this was an old engine that was not overhauled on the recommended schedule). The NTSB did say that there was "no evidence" of pre-impact power plant malfunction or failure, but the witness statement of a "spitting and sputtering" engine seems like "evidence" to me, so I don't think it's fair to say "no evidence." Maybe "no credible evidence."

Finally, if it had been an engine problem, one would expect the pilot to have communicated that. The pilot only said that he was "a little overweight" which suggests that the pilot didn't realize the reason the plane was not gaining altitude. A sputtering and quitting engine would have been obvious. Therefore the NTSB's conclusion that this was a flap error and not an engine malfunction seems to bear out.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2014, 04:39:44 AM by frcabot » Logged
martyj19
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« Reply #22 on: February 18, 2014, 07:11:11 AM »

I can promise you that the M models I got my license in had spring loaded flap selectors.  We used a three-count to estimate ten degrees up or down.  I have only seen the detent set and forget in the R and S.
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svoynick
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« Reply #23 on: February 18, 2014, 07:26:01 AM »

BTW I realize the NTSB report states that the 172M flaps use a spring-loaded switch that must be held down, but I have NEVER seen such a switch in a 172. Every Cessna I've ever flown had a set-it-and-forget-it selector. Maybe this plane's configuration was an exception.
Well, I guess I shouldn't have spoken so broadly, then - my mistake.  I've also flown extensively in 172's - took all my primary and most of my instrument training in two different "L" models and I assure you that they were spring-loaded up/down switches.  I clearly remember counting time to get down to 10 and 20 degrees, as well as having to hold onto that switch during the rollout on every T&G until they were fully up so I could free up my right hand, adjust the trim, close the carb heat, and throttle back up for takeoff. 

I also flew a few hours in N and M models, and I don't remember there being a detent type switch.  I would think I would have a memory of such a different control, but it was long enough ago that I can't be positive, and I'm certainly not questioning your experience.  Very interesting.

It is common practice to lower the flaps during the preflight inspection and raise them after. Witness(es?) stated that the plane was attempting to take off with flaps down, so it does not appear that the pilot simply lowered the flaps oncehe realized he was going to crash, as someone suggested here.
Yeah, I tend to agree.

Another witness however stated that the engine was "spitting and sputtering," then became quiet and lost power, then began "spitting and sputtering" again. The NTSB did not seem to credit this witness's account as the probable cause statement mentions nothing about engine problems, and attributes the crash to improper flap selection on takeoff. On the other hand, the engine had 2,352.8 hours SMOH, which is well over the 2000 TBO recommendation (i.e., this was an old engine that was not overhauled on the recommended schedule). The NTSB did say that there was "no evidence" of pre-impact power plant malfunction or failure, but the witness statement of a "spitting and sputtering" engine seems like "evidence" to me, so I don't think it's fair to say "no evidence." Maybe "no credible evidence."
Note that the plane was wallowing around and changing attitude in the final stages.  If someone was positioned to the side or rear of the aircraft, significant changes in attitude can make the engine (and especially the propeller sound, which is a significant part of what people think is the "engine"...) sound quite different.  From certain locations, it may well have sounded like the "engine" was changing its sounds significantly in that final phase, which a witness could perceive as "sputtering..."

Finally, if it had been an engine problem, one would expect the pilot to have communicated that. The pilot only said that he was "a little overweight" which suggests that the pilot didn't realize the reason the plane was not gaining altitude.
Yep, that was my thesis as well.
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robc
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« Reply #24 on: February 24, 2014, 06:34:36 PM »

This accident was featured in the latest AOPA safety blog:

http://blog.aopa.org/leadingedge/?p=4617

see also

http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140213/METRO02/302130100
« Last Edit: February 24, 2014, 06:47:34 PM by robc » Logged
kell490
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« Reply #25 on: March 20, 2014, 01:18:40 AM »

Sounds like this will be pilot error. I have heard statements on other forums that it's not a good idea to take passengers until one accumulates enough hours I'm assuming to get you past the stupid mistakes anyone makes while learning something unfortunately he took the family with him. Sounds like he had a promising life ahead of him too.  I once took a intro flight with a friend from work in a 172 we both paid for 30 minute flights but my friend wanted to ride alone him and I would switch off I asked the instructor repeatedly if we would be okay with the weight I'm 215 and my co worker was over 230 at least I was worried about it. The instructor said we were right at the limit. He let each of us take off after explaining what to do everything seemed fine, but after the flight was over the instructor said he noticed our positive rate of climb was very slow compared to what he was used to. I was concerned my coworker didn't give his correct weight. I know these Cessna's can get over weight fairly quickly with a 3 guys over 210 lucky for us the instructor was a 22 year old weighed only about 120lbs.  In this case with the flaps extended the pilot was thinking the issue was weight and didn't realize it was the flaps as well.
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