Steep turn leads to stall

Aircraft: Beech Bonanza. Injuries: 2 Fatal. Location: Lake in the Hills, Ill. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.

What reportedly happened: A commercial pilot accompanied by a CFI was practicing touch-and-goes. The commercial pilot, 82, did not hold a medical certificate at the time of the accident. On his most recent application for a medical, he reported 18,077 hours, of which 30 had been logged in the previous six months. The CFI, 62, had approximately 7,785 hours.

At the time of the accident the wind was reported from 220° between 11 and 22 knots.

A witness on the ground reported seeing the airplane in a steep bank as it turned from the base leg to the final approach leg. The airplane crashed in the turn.

Investigators speculated that the wind encountered on the left base turn to final may have resulted in the pilot overshooting the final approach path and the steep turn was his attempt to compensate for overshooting the final approach path by increasing the bank angle to bring the airplane back on course. The wreckage was consistent with the airplane encountering a stall/spin situation.

No mechanical malfunctions or failures were found that would have precluded normal operation.

Investigators were unable to determine who was flying the airplane at the time of the accident, however, since the commercial pilot did not hold a current medical certificate he was ineligible to have been acting as pilot-in-command.

Probable cause: The pilot’s excessive bank angle while on approach to land, which resulted in an inadvertent aerodynamic stall and spin.

NTSB Identification: CEN12FA271

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. Tom says

    Rudy’s comment below, i.e. “…yep, still need those 3rd class med certs.” is the typical response of many non-aviation types, particularly those that haven’t really thought out the situation carefully, and of their failure to understand the basic fact that the medical certificate has little to do with aviation accidents in the same way that car accidents aren’t typically caused by people with health issues. The entire 3rd class medical certificate only exists because of a lie perpetrated on pilots and the general public that it somehow saves lives in the air and on the ground and moreover, it is very easy to continue the procedure because it isn’t difficult to convince the general non-aviation public that their “common sense” would dictate that it was a good idea to give pilots physicals. It’s really simply runaway bureauacracy at its finest – no I mean worst. Read that the “emperor has no clothes” but the public thinks he is dressed – its really that basic.

    • RudyH says

      Well Tom, certainly is no lie that all aviators are not qualified docs, around the clocks…(little of your poetic style there). That certificate will need some ‘bureaucratic’ modification as to lengthening the validity period for ‘under 45’ aviator’s to four or five years; saves pilots some money, they fly on. Med examiners still make theirs, and the FAA is invariably still content or happy with it. That agency has to be negotiated with at first to make legitimate and workable in the long safety haul adjustments.

  2. A4 says

    Yep, should have had that medical, probably been approved to fly in the doctors office the thirty minutes he was in there.

  3. John says

    Could this have been a single yoke bonanza? I have enjoyed 43 years of flying,I’m com.instrument multi.Im 68,I might fly till 80 if I’m still in good health.we all gotta know when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em!

  4. Jerry says

    The NTSB report indicates they were landing on Rwy 26. With the wind on the ground at 220 degrees and up to 22 knots, they could easily have encountered a fairly strong tailwind on the base leg. That tailwind could then be the set-up for overshooting the turn to final, and then the resulting steep bank angle.

    I’ve encountered several situations where I was surprised by a strong tailwind on base. And, I found my natural tendency was to correct for the overshoot by steepening the bank angle. I’ve subsequently started to look for a potential base leg tailwind, while on downwind or entering the pattern. This provides a bit more thinking time, versus the, “oops there went final” on that base to final turn and the automatic turn tighter response.

  5. SR says

    One other point, Rudy. It did not say he lost his medical, was having issues getting it, or any such thing. Don’t make assumptions…particularly about non-related to the accident facts…..accident reports state many issues that are not causal.

    • RudyH says

      There was a concise med problem note by the FAA in withholding the cert. FIRST you resolve the problem, get legal with a’3rd med cert. THEN go fly….keep it simple, aka The Plain Truth!

  6. SR says

    Rudy, this accident has nothing to do with age or a medical. This was a case of improper technique….most likely the cross-control stall spin as they mentioned. This mistake accounts for a big number of accidents and deaths on the approach to land. Your comments, which do not appear really connected, sound like an uninformed pilot (if you are one), and show a total disregard for the real causal facts. Your comments are a bit insulting, too. By the way, I am not trying to start a discission here, but just had to comment on your “observations” which are very much outside the norm for people who follow this information and reporting forum.

    • RudyH says

      I read the facts in the instigator investigators narrative. IF meds in question by the FAA medical types were not mentioned thereon, you could be right. THEY were, you are wrong…read it again..the whole narrative…..

  7. RudyH says

    Senior pilot, 82 huh? Well, should have delayed flying until hearing from FAA Med. And if he just had to fly that Bonanza, the ‘younger’ CFI should have been handling t/off and landing phases….they’d both most likely still be alive. Yep, still need those 3rd class med certs. For All pertinent Aviators!!

    • Sleepy says

      The medical issue probably had nothing to do with it. The CFI did not make a correction fast enough. Even if your student is older and more experienced you as the instructor still have the responsibility to correct errors and do so immediately if required. The other possibility is that the CFI was flying in which case the student should never hesitate in commanding a go around even to his instructor.

      • RudyH says

        The meds in question (by the FAA) Would have everything to do with it if adversely affecting this late senior aviator’s judgment while at the controls…..

        • Sleepy says

          Neither the FFA nor NTSB listed any medical issue for either pilot as a possible causal factor. Who are you to say that it did?

          • RudyH says

            That is because they don’t have enough data on drug mind-altering effects. Just sayin’ the Plain Truth. Always know this well…….all aviators are not docs……

        • Tom says

          A 3rd class medical examination does NOT and can NOT reveal whether an 82 year old man can use “judgment” when turning from base leg to final. This guy may have been very close to crashing over the years in these situations and this was the last straw that finally caught up with his lack of aviating ability. This “technique issue” has absolutely nothing to do with what can be discovered in a medical examination. You are probably in the medical profession and think that the medical profession is the answer to everything.

          • RudyH says

            Boys, Boys….even the post-mortem won’t show the exact thoughts of these senior aviators….Age and the FAA med hold on the certificate AGAIN points to the Plain Truth gents…

          • Sleepy says

            Rudy I don’t know you and even if I did it wouldn’t change my option of your twisted “truth”. You can make up whatever scenario you want to fit your political views and espouse them as “truth” and maybe some gullible people will believe it but in the end your “truth” has no factual basis. Another thing from your initial post. There are a lot of pilots young and old who fly legally without a FAA medical and I hazard to guess if you told them to their face that they were not “pertinent aviators” you might be getting a lot more grief than what has been said here. I for one know all pilots are pertinent …….. even a twisted one like you

          • Sleepy says

            I guess I’m giving you the assumption that you are a pilot, even though there has been some conjecture here that you are not.

        • Tom says

          To say that pilots aren’t doctors is about as relevant as saying that bartenders aren’t musicians. What difference does it make that pilots aren’t doctors as if you are saying that doctors should have some sort of absolute dominion over the actions of pilots or vehicle operators or any other profession in the interest of “saving manking” from some perceived threat of physical or mental incapacity. I for one don’t see any relevance to the medical profession having control of who drives or flys or operates machinery or anything else. It’s all a big scam to promote the medical profession. It’s not any of the government’s business except in very extreme obvious situations that someone would be determined to be unfit to do anything. You would probably want gun owners to have to be cleared by the medical profession which would be a strict violation of the U.S. Constitution. Everybody having to carry a 3rd class medical to be sure that person isn’t displaying some mental illness before he/she leaves the house to go to the grocery store, or carry a weapon, or use a tennis racquet, or have a pocket knife.

          • RudyH says

            Tom, this is primarily the FAA’s torch….I’m with you on the price gouging on these med exams at present; that’s why I presented the ‘counter offer’ (up there) as a first step in easing some of the perceived burdens to all concerned. If you should negotiate with the Fed, as a first step toward significant change, there could be significant progress. I’m just looking at the target of overall safety in general aviation/student through instrument aviators, a broad picture. If you want to take a moment and search the apparently successful ‘Open Airplane’ organizations that convinced the aviation underwriters that constant ‘check-riding’ for very same aircraft the pilots already flies and is qual. in with every FBO a rental aircraft is drawn from does not have to be a burden. Hertz, Avis, Dollar Rent-a-plane is actually here, finally. (the CAP fleet was the model for this needed program….so I delved off topic only to show that strategic negotiation has a measure of success or so it would seem.

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