Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Crash update, Part Deux

Here's the initial workup on the crash at our home airport from the NTSB site:

NTSB Identification: NYC05LA092
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, June 07, 2005 in Wadsworth, OH
Aircraft: Piper PA-44-180, registration: N2148F
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On June 7, 2005, about 1230 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-44-180, N2148F, was substantially damaged during an aborted takeoff from the Weltzien Skypark Airport (15G), Wadsworth, Ohio. The certificated flight instructor and a student pilot were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local instructional flight that was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to written statements, the pilots were attempting a short-field takeoff from runway 21, a 2,360-foot-long, 37-foot-wide, asphalt runway. As the student pilot began the takeoff roll, the flight instructor reduced the right engine throttle to simulate an engine failure. The student pilot reduced the left engine throttle, and began braking. The flight instructor then instructed the student pilot to resume the takeoff, and the student pilot advanced both throttles forward.

The flight instructor reported that the student pilot attempted to rotated the airplane at an airspeed of 63 knots; however, the airplane did not climb. The flight instructor then reduced the throttles and began braking. The airplane departed the end of the runway, rolled though a ditch, and came to rest in a field.

Initial examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector did not reveal any mechanical malfunctions.

The flight instructor reported that at the time of the accident, the winds were calm, and the outside air temperature was 92 degrees Fahrenheit. The airport elevation was 1,210 feet.

I'm not multi-engine rated or a CFI, but I have to wonder about the wisdom of attempting a single-engine climb from our relatively short runway under high density altitute conditions. You'd be better off trying it at Wadsworth Muni or Medina, where the runways are a bit longer and thus there's a higher margin of error.

Plus, it doesn't sound like there was a complete understanding between the CFI and the student pilot as to what was occurring. In addition, the report doesn't indicate it, but I wonder if this was the first or a subsequent takeoff.

A reminder that danger is always lurking in aviation, and you've got to remain focused at all times inside the cockpit. I'm just glad that no one was injured in the accident.

Reviewing the NTSB website indicates that June hasn't been a good month for multi-engine pilots in our area. See for yourself...


Sam said...

From the NTSB report, it looks like they weren't doing a single-engine climb. The instructor first did a low-speed engine cut - the student responded correctly - the instructor then had the student perform a normal takeoff, without taxiing back. It they'd continued the takeoff roll on a single engine, they wouldn't have been able to stay on the runway, much less obtain 63 kts.

Although it wasn't a factor in this accident, I wouldn't practice a low-speed cut on a 37' wide runway...I had a student take me off the side of a 75' wide runway while doing that (no damage, thankfully). Futhermore, if you're taking a Seminole off of a 2300' strip in high density altitude conditions, you want every foot of runway available to you. If you're gonna do a low-speed engine cut, taxi back to full length for the subsequent takeoff.

IFR Pilot said...

Sam, thanks for your insight. It appears that I stand corrected that it wasn't single-engine climb. The suggestion to taxi back for full length takeoff seems especially prudent when you consider that our airport prohibits touch 'n go landings. You want to have every inch of runway available!

Old Blind Dog said...

The flight instructor reported that the student pilot attempted to rotated the airplane at an airspeed of 63 knots;...

Most likely because he was looking at the departure end of the (too) short runway. The premature rotation is a natural reaction from an inexperienced student pilot faced with this situation. This is definitely the fault of the instructor because he (as previously noted) failed to have the student taxi back to the threshold for the takeoff.

Sam said...

OBD, it's been a while since I've flown the Seminole, but 63 kts sounds about right for rotation. Operating speeds are pretty Bonanza-like. Vmc is something like 57 kts. Of course, they might've rotated prematurely and *told* the NTSB it was at the proper speed.

GC said...

Multi-engine instructing is some of the most dangerous flying an instructor can do. Though I enjoyed my time as an MEI thoroughly, there were several times that I had to pull chunks of seat-cushion from my nether-regions because of various student's blunders. Fortunately, all that occurred from them was "extreme learning."

Old Blind Dog said...

Well, I've never flown a Seminole. My multi-instructing was done in the Duchess and Baron. I assumed that it would be somewhat similar to the Duchess which has a Vmc of 65 KIAS and Vr/Vsse of 71 KIAS and that at 63 KIAS it would just mush along in ground effect until accelerating to a proper climb speed or running out of room (which seemed to be the case).