C-170 goes off runway

Aircraft: Cessna 170. Injuries: None. Location: Pullman, Wash. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: A CFI was providing tailwheel instruction to a pilot who intended to purchase the airplane. They had completed 10.7 hours of training, which included 56 landings. The CFI said he felt pressured to complete the training since the pilot planned to depart the following morning.

The accident happened during three-point landing practice in a crosswind gusting to 19 knots. After touchdown, the airplane began drifting to the right.

The CFI stated that he was guarding the controls closely but delayed assuming control of the airplane to let the pilot correct the situation on his own. The airplane then swerved to the right, and the CFI was unable to regain control despite full application of left rudder and brake. The airplane ran off the runway.

Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain directional control of the airplane while landing in gusting crosswind conditions and the flight instructor’s delayed remedial action.

NTSB Identification: WPR12CA269

This June 2012 accident report is are 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. Ron says

    19 kts is a good bit in a 170, but still…56 landings in a concentrated amount of time and he still was having that much trouble?

  2. Bart says

    56 landings and he still can’t keep it straight? 19 knots is a bit of a handful but certainly not beyond the capability of the airplane and the instructor was right to try to demonstrate it to him. But, he should have had a pretty good feeling after over 10 hours and more than 50 landings that this pilot wasn’t ready.

    Now let’s start a fight about why 3 point landings in a cross wind are “stupid”!

    • Tom says

      O.K. I’ll fight a little bit on this one. A “bit of a handful” is an understatement. While it is true that a C-170 doesn’t have a published maximum crosswind limitation the C-172 does and its 15 knots. Now the facts don’t show that the 19 knots was a direct crosswind but if it was then it would be obvious that it was in excess of 15 knots. This is even more difficult because there were GUSTS to 19 knots so it’s very possible and even likely that the crosswind was exceeding, at least I would think a “reasonable” conclusion that a maximum limitation was exceeded and I would say MORE THAN a “bit of a handful”. With an effective crosswind component in excess of 15 knots I would recommend going to another airport with a runway more in line with the wind. Now if this guy or CFI were well experienced in max crosswinds then I would say that would be different but it’s obvious that the student wasn’t well experienced so I don’t think that they should have been doing this if the AWOS was reporting those kinds of winds.

  3. Tom says

    Here are some items that did NOT prevent this accident:

    1. ADSB(S)
    2. Third class medical
    3. ELT
    4. Current chart
    5. Filed flight plan
    6. Psychiatric evaluation

  4. john says

    A follow up to know if the PIC who INTENDED to purchase the 170 ever completed the transaction after he crashed it would be interesting !!!

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