This May 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: American AA-1C. Injuries: 2 Fatal. Location: Philadelphia. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.
What reportedly happened: The instructor and student pilot had completed one touch-and-go landing and the airplane was in the departure climb, when they were instructed by an air traffic controller to “make right traffic.” The pilot did not acknowledge the instructions. The airplane entered a right turn, and was observed at a “high angle of attack” just prior to entering a descending 90° right bank. The airplane hit a parked trailer and skidded across the ground, coming to rest under a row of parked trailers. A post-crash fire ensued.
Examination of the airplane and engine revealed no pre-impact mechanical anomalies. The Pilot Operating Handbook listed a stall speed of approximately 65 mph at a bank angle of 20° and 90 mph at a bank angle of 60°. The POH listed a rotation speed between 60 and 65 mph and a normal climb speed of 95 mph.
Probable cause: The flight instructor’s failure to maintain airspeed, which resulted in an inadvertent stall.