Pacer ground-loops

Aircraft: Piper Pacer. Injuries: None. Location: Yakima, Wash. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.

What reportedly happened: The pilot was returning to land when, upon touchdown, a gust of wind lifted his left wing.

Despite his control inputs, the airplane ground-looped.

At the time of the accident, the wind at the airport was reported to be from 240° at 7 knots.

The pilot reported that there were no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airframe and engine that would have precluded normal flight.

Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain directional control upon landing.

NTSB Identification: WPR11CA235

This May 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. Vaughn S. Price says

    Every commenter jumps to the conclusion that it was a PA 22 Tri Pacer. A Pacer PA-20 however, is a fine Tailwheel Aircraft, It lands very slow and main gear and tailwheel all touch together {full stall landing} then all the described gyrations would not have occored.
    The root cause of the mishap was lack of teaching from the Instructor. {Student has not learned Teacher has not taught}

  2. Mike Crognale says

    I watched a Tri-Pacer flip upside down on landing at the Syracuse, NY airport back in the early 80’s. Windy day, gust lifted a wing, pilot tried to correct and slammed on the brakes. aircraft went tail over nose onto her back. The woman in the passenger seat crawled out of the door and ran down the length of the wing, on the wing. She had on stiletto high heels. Put holes in the fabric all the way down the wing.

    • RudyH says

      Even Don Kershner once walked away from a Tri-Pacer flight/landing with ‘ole man Piper… shaking his head….told it all….my very first flight in one these told me it was a great paper weight and fair wx, one pilot operation…..(She may have given the boy a mile high club initiation and he wasn’t quite zipped up yet……lololol)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *