Instructional takeoff goes awry

Aircraft: Cessna 172. Injuries: None. Location: Gainesville, Ga. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The CFI was providing instruction to a student who had about 10 hours of flight experience. During the first takeoff roll, the student attempted to steer the airplane with the control yoke instead of the rudder pedals.

The CFI provided verbal instruction and then attempted to take control of the airplane. The student applied full left rudder and did not relinquish the controls when the CFI asked.

The CFI was unable to correct for the full left rudder because the student would not relinquish control of the airplane. The CFI chose to abort the takeoff, but could not stop the airplane before it overran the runway and hit a glideslope antenna.

Skid marks confirmed the flight instructor’s attempt to stop the airplane and the airplane’s continued turn to the left.

Probable cause: The student pilot’s improper use of the flight controls during the takeoff and the flight instructor’s delayed remedial action. Contributing to the accident was the student pilot’s interference with the flight instructor’s attempted remedial actions.

NTSB Identification: ERA12CA369

This May 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. says

    TIP? In my “hayday” of primary instruction, early on, I would have the student place his/her LEFT hand on his lap; his/her RIGHT on the power (throttle) and taxi around (getting accustomed) to the RUDDERS as the steering devive for a few times (30 minutes?) BEFORE introducing the takeoff and the IMPORTANCE of the use of the rudders. Once they’re “programed” to use their FEET, (for steering), then I allow them to place their hand (LEFT) on the yoke for pitch/roll control.

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