The flight instructor was demonstrating a takeoff to the student pilot in the tailwheel-equipped Bellanca 7GCBC. During the takeoff from the airport in Midlothian, Texas, the instructor was flying the airplane and was seated in the rear seat, with the student pilot observing and following along on the flight controls in the front seat.
The instructor stated that, as the airplane lifted off the runway, he could not move the control stick. The airplane continued to climb in an increasingly nose-high pitch attitude, and the instructor said his efforts to apply forward pressure on the control stick had “no effect.”
The airplane subsequently experienced an aerodynamic stall and hit the ground. The student died in the crash, while the instructor was injured.
Examination of the airframe and engine revealed no preimpact anomalies that would have precluded normal operation, and examination of the flight controls found no evidence of interference.
While the flight instructor expected the student pilot to follow along on the control stick, it could not be determined if the student interfered with the movement of the controls. With the instructor unable to move the elevator control and reduce the nose-high pitch attitude of the airplane, the airplane exceeded its critical angle of attack and experienced an aerodynamic stall.
Probable cause: The flight instructor’s inability to move the control stick after takeoff for undetermined reasons, which resulted in an exceedance of the airplane’s critical angle of attack and inadvertent aerodynamic stall. The reason for the inability to move the control stick could not be determined.
NTSB Identification: CEN16FA145
This April 2016 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.