Pilot forgets to bring up flaps

This June 2010 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: Cessna 152. Injuries: None. Location: St. Charles, Mo. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The pilot was practicing touch and goes. During the last touch-and-go landing, she retracted the flaps and applied full throttle.

The ground roll seemed slightly longer than previous takeoffs. After liftoff, the airplane was not climbing and she thought that it was developing less than full power. She felt the airplane would not clear near-by powerlines, so she elected to abort the takeoff and land in a field off the extended centerline of the runway.

The airplane hit the ground during the landing and sustained substantial damage, which included a damaged left wing, a ruptured fuel tank, and a deformed fuselage.

Post-accident examination of the airplane revealed that the cockpit flap indicator was in the 20° position. According to the aircraft’s Pilot Operating Handbook, “Normal takeoffs are accomplished with wing flaps 0°- 10°. Using 10° wing flaps reduces the total distance over an obstacle by approximately 10%. Flap deflections greater than 10° are not approved for takeoff.”

Probable cause: The pilot’s improper takeoff procedure that led to a decreased climb rate and subsequent off-airport landing.

For more information: NTSB.gov. NTSB Identification: CEN10CA346



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