Lack of experience contributes to accident

Aircraft: RANS S12. Injuries: 1 Minor. Location: Fort Collins, Colo. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The pilot was conducting an off-airport precautionary landing due to an unanticipated gusting wind and turbulence.

Just before touchdown he made a sudden right turn to avoid a single-wire electric livestock fence. The airplane stalled and crashed.

The pilot stated that he had more experience in weight-shift control light sport airplanes and that the throttle in that type of aircraft was controlled with the right foot. He commented that during the sudden right turn he might have inadvertently applied full right rudder thinking that he was applying full throttle.

Probable cause: The pilot’s inadvertent application of full right rudder during landing, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall and impact with terrain.

NTSB Identification: CEN11CA289

This April 2011 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.


  1. Greg W says

    The cause of rudder application has merit, if the throttle on the pilots trike is indeed on the right foot, muscle memory and reaction could well cause something like this. I fly tail-draggers mainly and have to consciously not “pin” the tail to the ground on landing with tricycle gear. In an emergency state we revert to what we have practiced the most and most recently.

  2. Steve says

    “Lack of experience” — Well, maybe … consider “light wing loading” as another contributing factor. I’d bet my 1500 lb gross-weight vintage Cessna 150 would have been much friendlier in this situation, yet it doesn’t qualify for LSA. I like to say that “light” equals “sport.” And this goes without saying that relatively new, inexperienced pilots don’t initially need this sort of “sport.”

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