Lack of airmanship kills two

Aircraft: Maule M-7-235. Injuries: 2 Fatal. Location: Warrenton, Va. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.

What reportedly happened: The commercial pilot had logged approximately 1,066 hours, but his time in the Maule could not be determined.

According to a CFI who had flown with him on several occasions, the pilot performed turns in the traffic pattern at 45°of bank. In addition, during the most recent instructional flight he pilot did not properly recover the plane after hearing the stall warning horn. The CFI had to instruct the pilot on how to recover from the impending stall.

According to witnesses on the ground at the airport, while turning left from base to final, the Maule appeared to bank in excess of 60°, stalled, and entered an uncontrolled descent.

The post-accident examination revealed no evidence of any pre-impact failure or malfunction.

Based on the witness reports of the airplane’s steep bank angle and sudden decrease in pitch attitude, it is likely the pilot inadvertently stalled the airplane during the base-to-final turn in the traffic pattern.

Probable cause: The pilot’s inadequate airspeed and excessive bank angle while maneuvering for landing, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall.

NTSB Identification: ERA11FA443

This August 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. says

    Coming to a panel near you— The low altitude overbank warning system or LAOWS. Consisting of lights, horns, stick shaker and inflatable CFI. Brought to you by the friendly folks at the FAA.

  2. Dietrich Fecht says

    The Maule MX7-235 is a very powerful and capable airplane with easy to handle stall characteristics. Years ago I bought a new one at the Maule factory in Moultrie, GA and flew it from there via Bangor, Goose Bay and Reykjavik to Cologne in Germany. With 10 % over gross weight with all the gas in the ferry tanks. All no problem. I owned it a few years and flew often VFR + IFR across the European Alps with an oxygen bottle in altitudes up to 18,000 + feet. Once I reached an unfamiliar airport at the Mediterranean at a about 6,000 above pattern altitude because I got no clearance to descend early enough. Out of the situation with no space for circling I descended in an absolute stable soft ½ stall so that the tower asked me “are you a helicopter?” to a normal landing. So much to stall characteristics of a Maule MX7-235. The pilot must have done really bad faults to crash with this airplane.

  3. Vaughn S. Price says

    Accident caused by this pilots first Instructor not giving the student accelerated manuever stalls including steep base to final simulation, and not pounding into students head the need for planning a shallow banked turn base to final. I had occasion on an American Airlines transition flight to observe this same mistake made by a DC-6 Captain checking out in a Boeing 707.
    Most accidents I attribute to the lack of proper instruction prior to 1st solo.

  4. Richard Baker says

    The sky, even more so than the sea, is terribly unforgiving of even the slightest mistake. Was a 23 year skydiver and complacency/inattentiveness IS a killer. Always sad to hear of a death in the air.

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