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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 168713
Last updated: 20 October 2020
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Type:Silhouette image of generic C150 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Cessna 150M
Registration: N66241
C/n / msn: 15075945
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Mount Pleasant Rgn'l Airport-Faison Field (KLRO), Mount Pleasant, SC -   United States of America
Phase: Take off
Departure airport:Mount Pleasant, SC (LRO)
Destination airport:Mount Pleasant, SC (LRO)
Investigating agency: NTSB
The commercial pilot indicated to the flight school that hired him that he was a flight instructor; however, he did not hold a flight instructor certificate. He had been providing flight instruction to flight school students for about 1 month at the time of the accident. On the day of the accident flight, the commercial pilot and the student pilot were flying their third instructional flight together. After completing a preflight inspection, the commercial pilot and student pilot taxied to the runway and began the takeoff roll. Witnesses reported that the airplane departed the runway about midfield and immediately looked unstable. Multiple observers stated that the airplane stalled about 100 ft above ground level and subsequently entered a nose-down dive before it impacted the ground seconds later.
Examination of the wreckage revealed a fractured flap switch return spring, which prevented the switch from returning to the OFF position. A subsequent laboratory examination confirmed electrical continuity for the flap switch contacts but could not determine when the spring fractured. Postaccident examination of the wreckage revealed that the flap actuator jackscrew was consistent with the flaps in the retracted position. No other evidence of preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures that could have precluded normal operation was found. A witness stated that he observed the airplane begin its ground roll with the flaps fully extended. However, there were no previously reported issues with the flap system and the postaccident wreckage examination showed that the flaps were in the retracted position at impact; thus, it is possible that the flaps were extended during takeoff and were subsequently retracted before impact.
Review of the commercial pilotís logbook showed that he had accumulated more than 350 total hours of flight experience but had not flown an airplane of similar make and model to the accident airplane in at least 7 years. His lack of experience as a flight instructor and in make and model suggests that he may not have possessed the skills to quickly recognize and remediate a stall at a low altitude. Additionally, the student pilot would not have likely been proficient in recognizing and recovering from a stall at his training level. The student pilot had not had any formal training experience before his two previous lessons with the commercial pilot. At this stage in his flight training, the student pilot would have been learning basic flying skills, which suggests that the commercial pilot was likely demonstrating the takeoff or should have been ready to retain control of the airplane if the student pilot was operating the flight controls. While the commercial pilot told the flight school owner that he was a certificated flight instructor, a check of his logbook would have revealed that he did not hold a flight instructor certificate.
Toxicological testing detected the presence of hydrocodone and its metabolites in the commercial pilotís urine; however, it was not detected in the blood so would not have been impairing. An inactive metabolite of cyclobenzaprine was detected in his blood and urine but would not have impaired the pilot. Although the commercial pilotís toxicology testing detected Tramadol, an opioid pain medication, in his heart blood at 20 times the normal level, such levels are indicative of chronic use. Further, the flight school owner did not observe any abnormal behaviors with the commercial pilot on the day of the accident. Thus, it is likely that the commercial pilot was not impaired from the sedating effects of the medication at the time of the accident. Tramadol, particularly at high doses, is associated with an increased risk of seizure; however, the investigation was unable to determine if the commercial pilotís chronic pain condition or a seizure due to extremely high levels of tramadol impaired him and contributed to the accident.

Probable Cause: The commercial pilotís exceedance of the airplaneís critical angle-of-attack during the initial climb, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall and impact with terrain. Contributing to the commercial pilotís failure to recognize and remediate the stall were his lack of experience as a flight instructor and lack of recent experience in the accident airplane make and model.


FAA register:

Revision history:

14-Aug-2014 17:30 gerard57 Added
14-Aug-2014 17:30 harro Updated [Aircraft type, Source]
14-Aug-2014 19:13 Geno Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Location, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Source, Damage, Narrative]
14-Aug-2014 20:16 Anon. Updated [Location]
14-Aug-2014 22:25 Geno Updated [Location, Source]
16-Aug-2014 08:23 Alpine Flight Updated [Time, Damage]
04-Sep-2014 06:11 Anon. Updated [Source]
04-Sep-2014 07:24 Aerossurance Updated [Time, Source, Narrative]
21-Dec-2016 19:28 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
30-Nov-2017 19:01 ASN Update Bot Updated [Operator, Other fatalities, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]

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