Student forgets to raise flaps

Aircraft: Cessna 172. Injuries: 1 Fatal. Location: Sturgis, S.D. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.

What reportedly happened: The accident happened while the student pilot was practicing supervised solo takeoffs and landings. The flight instructor stated that after the second solo landing, the student did not retract the airplane’s flaps before beginning the next takeoff.

After takeoff, the airplane entered a half-turn spin and hit the ground.

Toxicology tests detected acetaminophen and diphenhydramine in the pilot’s urine. Although diphenhydramine can cause drowsiness, the investigation could not determine whether it contributed to the accident.

Probable cause: The student pilot’s failure to maintain control of the airplane during takeoff with extended flaps.

NTSB Identification: CEN12LA059

This November 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. RudyH says

    Way back in the last century, ‘ole Andy Instructer insisted on my checklist use….and I did on my first day of solos’….and from then on….still am here….am just a sayin’…..

  2. says

    No mention if this was a “full stop” or touch & go? On initial solo’s , I always insisted on full stop, as this allows TIME to get organized. i.e. quick re-check of flap setting, traffic, etc. Why ask a student to “put a square block in a round hole”, when he/she is already anxious and under some stress given the first, second, or third supervised solo.

  3. Bob says

    OK someone help me out here what is it about flaps that causes a spin on take off?
    It seems to me a Stall spin is a stall spin with or without flaps. Low airspeed on departure climb out is low airspeed.
    But you know the good thing? I am sure that guy was cleared to solo after 12 hours while I am such a bad pilot that I had to wait till 30 hours to solo!

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