Failure to relinquish controls leads to accident

This June 2007 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.

Aircraft: Evektor SportStar.
Location: Shirley, N.Y.
Injuries: None.
Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The CFI reported the accident flight was his first flight with the student. No discrepancies were noted during the preflight inspection. The CFI advised the student before the flight departed that he would be pilot-in-command if any problems occurred. He also briefed the student on the traffic pattern, air work that included slow flight, and steep turns. The student was on the controls as the flight departed and remained in the traffic pattern. The airplane proceeded on the upwind leg, turned crosswind to downwind, and during the downwind leg the CFI advised the student that the aircraft was abeam the runway. When it was abeam the numbers, the student lowered the flaps to the first notch, reduced power, and then turned onto the base leg. The student lowered the flaps to the second notch and turned onto final.

When the student flared too high, the CFI grabbed the controls and advised the student he had the controls and was taking command of the airplane. The student did not relinquish the controls. The CFI initiated a go-around by applying full power. The CFI repeated that he had the controls and command of the aircraft but still the student did not let go. The airplane pitched up into a power-on stall. The aircraft banked to the left, then hit the ground.

Probable cause: The student pilot’s failure to maintain adequate airspeed, resulting in a stall. The failure of the student to relinquish the flight controls when instructed to do so was a factor.

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