By Jim Timm
The following are the NTSB reports of the aviation accidents that have occurred in Arizona from late March 2017 thru late April 2017. We can use this detailed accident information to develop safety programs and briefings that will help pilots learn from the mistakes being made by others, and then take the action necessary to prevent similar accidents from happening to them.
Once again, from a flight safety standpoint, the last reporting period appears to have been outstanding in that from late February to late April the NTSB has not published any accident reports. It’s a bit difficult to decide if flight safety has improved in the past reporting period. Since my last report, the NTSB has released only one accident report. The report they released occurred the end of February, and none have been published since. That accident had its findings report released the first of April, and is included in this summary.
Because I found it a bit hard to believe that there had not been any reported accidents since February 27th, I called my NTSB contact, and asked what is happening. I was told, based on their internal non-public records, “There has been a significant drop in general aviation accidents in Arizona.” Apparently, in this time frame, there are perhaps four minor accident reports waiting approval from the Washington DC office to release. The commentary I got was that apparently our safety efforts are working, or else a lot of people are not flying. I don’t think people have stopped flying, unless the marginal ones have stopped.
I like not having to prepare lengthy accident summaries, and I hope it remains this way for a while. Based on the NTSB information available when this summary was prepared, the accident summary for this past period is as follows:
Accident Date: Monday, February 27, 2017
Report Dated: 4/4/17
Title 14 CFR Part 91
Aircraft Type: Piper PA28
Injuries: 3 Uninjured
LOSS OF CONTROL IN FLIGHT
The flight instructor reported that during an introduction to soft field takeoffs lesson, upon switching to the tower frequency, he and his student received the updated wind and altimeter setting. He noted that the wind was a "rear quartering crosswind," and reported "I have done these before so thought I would be fine, though in retrospect [it's] been a long time since I have done [a takeoff] with similar conditions." During the takeoff, he held the yoke back with right aileron, and as the airplane began to lift off he reduced back pressure on the yoke. After becoming airborne, the airplane drifted to the right and then settled back on the runway. He added more right aileron, rudder, and more "back elevator" which reduced his forward visibility. The airplane became airborne again, about 45 knots, and drifted to the right of the runway centerline. He reduced power, landed, and came to a stop off the right side of the runway. The airplane was taxied back to parking with no further incident.
A post-accident examination revealed the airplane sustained substantial damage to the rear carry through wing spar.
The chief flight instructor reported that there were no pre-accident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.
The flight instructor reported that about the time of the accident the wind was 300° at 10 knots. The airplane was departing on runway 7R.