ASN logo
ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 145840
Last updated: 4 June 2020
This information is added by users of ASN. Neither ASN nor the Flight Safety Foundation are responsible for the completeness or correctness of this information. If you feel this information is incomplete or incorrect, you can submit corrected information.

Type:Silhouette image of generic C172 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Cessna 172S Skyhawk
Owner/operator:Diamond Flying Llc
Registration: N953SP
C/n / msn: 172S8153
Fatalities:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:St George Municipal Airport - KSGU, St George, UT -   United States of America
Phase: Take off
Departure airport:St. George, UT (SGU)
Destination airport:Mesquite, NV (67L)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Prior to the flight, the pilot and passengers were at a party, during which time the pilot and all but one passenger (the designated driver) consumed multiple alcoholic beverages. They left to go to another party and while en route, the vehicle was pulled over by a police officer. During the diversion, the group agreed to instead go to a nearby city to gamble.

The flight subsequently departed around 0120 with the airplane about 160 lbs. over its maximum gross weight. An airport video recording that captured the takeoff revealed that the airplane remained either on the ground or in ground effect for over two-thirds of the length of the runway, consistent with the pilot attempting to gain airspeed in the overweight airplane. The airplane then aggressively pitched nose up and climbed out of view of the camera. Seconds later, the airplane reappeared in a near-vertical descent into the dirt area at the end of the runway, most likely due to an aerodynamic stall during the steep climb.

A review of the pilot's toxicological tests found that the post-mortem blood ethanol level was 0.105 percent, which is more than twice the Federal Aviation Administration limit for civil aviators (0.04 percent). The evidence points to ingestion as the primary source of the ethanol in the pilot and implies that his pre-mortem ethanol level was high enough to significantly impair his judgment and psychomotor skills. It is likely that the pilot's consumption of alcohol preflight contributed to this accident. Postaccident examinations of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.
Probable Cause: The pilot's failure to maintain adequate airspeed during an aggressive pitch-up maneuver, which resulted in a low-altitude aerodynamic stall shortly after takeoff. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's impairment from alcohol consumption and an over-gross-weight airplane.



Revision history:

26-May-2012 16:28 Geno Added
27-May-2012 23:32 Geno Updated [Registration, Cn, Operator, Phase, Departure airport, Source]
08-Jun-2012 19:01 Geno Updated [Time, Nature, Destination airport, Source]
21-Dec-2016 19:28 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
27-Nov-2017 20:42 ASN Update Bot Updated [Operator, Other fatalities, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description