Failure to use checklist leads to accident

Aircraft: Cessna 150. Injuries: 1 Serious. Location: Fairbanks, Alaska. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The student pilot intended to depart for a solo flight to the local practice area. During the takeoff roll, he held forward pressure on the yoke to keep the nosewheel on the ground. At 50 mph, he let the nosewheel come off the ground and the airplane pitched up into a steep climb.

He pushed the nose down as the stall warning horn sounded. The airplane came down hard.

The student said he didn’t reduce engine power, and he did not remember checking the elevator trim position before takeoff.

Another student pilot who flew the airplane earlier with an instructor reported that his last landing was a simulated engine out, and he utilized a lot of nose-up trim to maintain the best angle of glide. He did not return the trim to neutral after a flight.

The post-accident inspection showed the trim was set close to the full nose-up position. Investigators determined that it was likely that the pilot did not check the trim setting during the pre-takeoff inspection, which would have been indicated in the pre-takeoff checklist. No interference was found with the flight controls.

Probable cause: The student pilot did not control the airplane’s pitch attitude, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall during the takeoff initial climb. Contributing to the accident was his failure to use the pre-takeoff checklist.

NTSB Identification: ANC12LA031

This April 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. Jimmy says

    The Flight Simulation, knowledge all checklists, but one thing don’t forget most of the trim elevator is a very important, so easy check/watch at the pitch gauge before takeoff. Common aircraft, the pilot will usually reminder all the time that’s the trim as control as make sure the pitched as little up before rolling takeoff safely. Wise – Airspeed and RPM. The pitch doesn’t have it warning light or warning beep but engine’s speed stall can tell you.

  2. Ray says

    Remember “Be kind and rewind”? I always neutralise the trim when parking a trainer or rental. But still USE THE CHECKLIST!

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