Aviation Accident Summaries

Aviation Accident Summary NYC95LA013


Aircraft #1




The pilot was returning from a skydiving drop when he entered the airport traffic pattern, experienced an inflight loss of control, and then struck trees short of the runway. According to the pilot, just before turning to final, he 'heard what sounded like a stone hitting the side of an automobile.' The airplane rolled left despite corrective aileron control input by the pilot. The pilot did a go-around; however, the uncommanded left roll continued. The aircraft proceeded through about 180 degree of turn before the airspeed decreased, the aircraft pitched down, and a collision with trees occurred. Examination of the airplane revealed the aileron cable had fractured.

Factual Information

On October 15, 1994 about 1700 eastern daylight time, N70571, a Cessna 182M airplane, collided with the ground following an inflight loss of control during approach to runway 36 at Willie Airport, Worthington, Pennsylvania. Visual meteorological conditions existed. The certificated commercial pilot, the sole occupant, received minor injuries. The airplane was substantially damaged. The local flight was operated under 14 CFR Part 91. The pilot was returning from airlifting parachutists to 10,500 feet mean sea level, when the accident occurred. He had done a circling descent and then set up for entry into the traffic pattern. According to the pilot, "descending on base leg, just before turning onto final, I heard what sounded like a stone hitting the side of an automobile. At this time I began to experience a slight roll to the left which I could not eliminate with full right aileron, but was able to control effectively with right rudder. I passed the final approach point slightly, but decided to allow the plane to roll itself onto final approach, feeling this might be my only shot. "I had not been able to determine what exactly went wrong, but by this point I realized the problem was serious, that is why I felt the need to land when the opportunity presented itself. I was able to keep the airplane pointing down the approach path, but with the wind out of the east, the plane was drifting to the west edge of the runway. I monitored my airspeed throughout the ordeal, keeping between 70 and 75 mph indicated. Continuing to drift west, it became obvious that collision with obstacles (large hay bales and trees) was imminent, I decided that a go- around would be necessary. As I had been able to maintain directional control with the rudder, I felt that I stood a better chance with a go-around than a high speed head on collision with fixed objects. "I applied full power and began to climb. The airplane tried to roll left but I initially countered with more right rudder. Airspeed immediately began to drop off so I released some right rudder which resulted in the beginning of a heavy left roll. when the roll reached about 30 to 40 degrees, I was no longer able to maintain a climb. By this time, my flight path was approximately 180 degrees opposite to the final approach course, the nose began to drop and impact with the trees began to look inevitable. Luckily the flight path of the plane was along the descending terrain ravine, this allowed me a little extra time to alter the flight path of the airplane to what I would believed would be a survivable impact attitude. "I knew I had to reduce my forward speed and get the nose up so as was just above the trees, I applied full flaps, stomped on the right rudder and pulled back on the yoke with all of my strength. Just before contact with the trees, I observed the airspeed indicator fall past 50 mph and the airplane stalled with a left wing low, nose up attitude." FAA examination of the airplane revealed the aileron cable was fractured. NTSB metallurgical examination of the cable is pending.

Probable Cause and Findings

The failure of the aileron control cable which resulted in the inflight loss of control and collision with trees.


Source: NTSB Aviation Accident Database

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