The banner tow airplane departed, circled, and returned to the airport in Gansevoort, N.Y., for the banner pickup. The operator said he was using a handheld radio and was prepared to provide flightpath adjustments to the pilot for the banner pickup, but the approach was “perfect” and the pickup was successful.
He announced over the radio that the banner was captured and “looked good,” but the Cessna 182 then climbed at a much shallower angle than anticipated and drifted left of the runway heading.
The plane subsequently collided with a treetop, rolled inverted, and hit the ground in a nose-down attitude, killing both people on board.
The owner of the property where the airplane came to rest was in her yard facing the runway when her attention was drawn to the sound of the airplane as it approached; the engine sounded normal and was smooth and continuous until impact.
He stated that the airplane was in a level attitude when it struck the treetop, rolled inverted, and struck the ground nose first.
Examinations revealed the throttle and mixture controls were in the full-forward position, the propeller control was three-fourths forward, and the carburetor heat control was in the “on” position. Assuming these as-found positions were the same at takeoff, the engine and propeller would have provided less-than-full power and thrust.
A review of the pilot’s logbook revealed he had accrued 333.1 total hours of flight experience, of which 26 hours were in the accident airplane make and model. In the 30 days before the accident, the pilot had had flown 1.8 hours, none of which was in the accident airplane make and model.
According to FAA Advisory Circular AC-61-23C, Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge: “The effect of torque increases in direct proportion to engine power, airspeed, and airplane attitude…During takeoffs and climbs, when the effect of torque is most pronounced, the pilot must apply sufficient right rudder pressure to counteract the left-turning tendency and maintain a straight takeoff path.”
It is likely that the pilot did not apply enough right rudder to counteract the left-turning tendency of the airplane during climb.
The NTSB determined the probable cause as the pilot’s failure to maintain directional control during initial climb following a banner pick-up, resulting in collision with a tree.
NTSB Identification: ERA14FA372
This August 2014 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.