This January 2008 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.
Aircraft: Cessna 172. Location: Clearwater, Fla. Injuries: 3 Fatal. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.
What reportedly happened: The private pilot was on the return leg of a cross-country flight. Near the destination airport, air traffic control advised him to expect a left downwind for runway 22, which the pilot acknowledged. He entered what appeared to be the downwind leg for runway 22, but turned left onto final approach for runway 27. When asked by the controller if he was lined up for runway 22, the pilot responded “zero zero quebec sorry about that.” Witnesses and the controller noted an abrupt right turn, followed by the airplane stalling and hitting water short of the runway.
Examination of the engine, airplane and the flight controls revealed no evidence of pre-impact failure or malfunction. However, the airplane was 24 pounds over gross weight.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain airspeed while maneuvering for approach to land. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s operation of the airplane above the design gross weight.
For more information: NTSB.gov