Loose canopy distracts pilot

Aircraft: Skeeter 1M. Injuries: 1 Fatal.Location: Oklahoma City. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.

What reportedly happened: The pilot was flying his homebuilt airplane on a cross-country flight when the canopy came loose.

He diverted to another airport to land and secure the canopy. He was on the downwind leg in the traffic pattern and another airplane was on final approach.

Several witnesses said that the Skeeter was on final approach at an altitude of 400 feet AGL when the pilot attempted to make a 180° turn at 45° of bank. The plane descended and hit the ground.

Investigators speculated that the pilot likely saw the other airplane on the runway, and, not knowing its intention, attempted to add more space between his airplane and the other airplane.

Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain control while on final approach as he was executing a turn to provide spacing between his airplane and an airplane on the runway.

NTSB Identification: CEN12LA179

This March 2012 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. Mike says

    I’m only a Student Pilot, but if I suddenly saw a plane on the runway while I was on final my first instinct would be to execute a missed-approach. Be predictable and stay in the traffic pattern.

    My “instinct” is likely due at least in part to an incident I witnessed a number of years ago from my local observation deck. A departing RJ was cleared for take-off with another on short final. The departing aircraft pulled out onto the runway and began to accelerate. The landing aircraft (now at no more than 100 feet AGL) added power and turned gently to the left (away from the tower and the other parallel runway).

    Not surprisingly, a new voice took over in the Tower…

  2. Ray says

    Instructors, please take advantage of the law of primacy and HAMMER home this mantra. DO NOT MAKE ABRUPT MANOUVERS AT LOW ALTITUDE AND LOW SPEED…..EVER!!! This happens way to much.

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