This July 2010 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 152. Injuries: 1 Fatal. Location: Venice, Calif. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.
What reportedly happened: The pilot earned his private pilot certificate in 1982, but did not fly on a regular basis.
In December 2008, he received his commercial pilot certificate, followed by his instrument rating, in January 2009. As of December 2009 he reported a total flight time of 307.7 hours.
On the day of the accident, he completed a touch and go landing and initiated a climb out. During the climb out he communicated with a tower controller that he needed to return to the airport for landing because of a problem, but did not give any details.
Several witnesses remarked that the 152 appeared to be climbing slower and shallower than normal. One saw the airplane make a 90° left turn and enter into a spiraling nose-dive before losing sight of it behind a tree line. The airplane crashed on a golf course.
During the on-scene inspection, investigators identified all major flight controls of the airplane at the main wreckage area, and the smell of fuel was present at the accident site. No mechanical issues were found.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain adequate airspeed and airplane control during initial climb, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall/spin and subsequent impact with the ground.
For more information: NTSB.gov. NTSB Identification:WPR10FA325
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