According to the pilot, during a flour bomb competition at the airport in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, she was making a bomb run parallel to Runway 18 and slowed the Cessna 177 to 80 knots, with zero flaps, mixture was rich, throttle was about 75%, and carburetor heat was used.
About 300′ above the ground she dropped the bag of flour. After dropping the flour, she immediately advanced the throttle to full, ensured the mixture was full rich, zero flaps, and carburetor heat was placed in the cold position, but the engine hesitated when full throttle was applied.
She lowered the nose to increase the airspeed and made a left turn to re-enter the pattern before establishing a positive rate of climb.
She recalled that when she lowered the nose, the airspeed increased to about 100 knots indicated. She turned to the left, and the airplane did not climb.
The airplane continued to descend into a cornfield and bounced. When it settled back to the ground, the left main landing gear wheel became stuck in the mud and the airplane nosed over.
The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage, both wings, and the empennage.
In the Pilot’s Aircraft Accident Report, she reported that when full throttle was applied, the heading of 180° should have been maintained until adequate airspeed was attained before turning crosswind. She asserted that, if the heading of 180° was maintained when full power was not achieved, the plane could have landed on the runway.
The FAA Aviation Safety Inspector that traveled to the accident site, interviewed witnesses and inspected the airplane, reported that according to the witness statements, the airplane was below the flour bomb designated minimum altitude of 200′ above the ground and very slow. According to witnesses the aircraft stalled, lost altitude, and landed in a corn field just off the airport property.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain adequate airspeed and her exceedance of the airplane’s critical angle-of-attack during a low-altitude turn, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall.
NTSB Identification: GAA16CA266
This May 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.