The pilot reported that, while participating in a slow flight competition in Talkeetna, Alaska, he was over the target area for the radar speed check about 30′ above the ground, at 17 mph ground speed, when the left wing stalled.
He did not have sufficient altitude to recover, so the Backcountry Super Cub hit the ground. The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings.
The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain a proper airspeed and his exceedance of the airplane’s critical angle of attack, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall.
NTSB Identification: GAA17CA299
This May 2017 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.
David B. says
There is video of this incident, and have talked to folks that were there. The mistake was he tried to correct using ailerons instead of his rudder when his one wing began to drop. He likely would have recovered instead of causing the wing to stall further. You can see for yourself here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWrG3_YqGZc
Jerry King says
Did pretty much the same thing in a Kolb ultralight years ago attempting to land in the shortest possible distance from runway edge. On short final near trees, headwind dropped out leaving me below stall speed. Bent landing gear and pride; but learned a valuable lesson or two… Don’t do that crap again! AND Be ready on the throttle because a little throttle application can save an otherwise bad landing; although probably not THAT one.
Harvey Brock says
Yep, dumb risk right up there with somersaults during motorcycle jumps, cliff diving, bungee jumping and other stupid things we do for entertainment.
Does a competition in which one is far behind the power curve 30′ off the ground seem like an unconsicinably dumb risk to anyone else?
No more than riding a motorcycle on I-5 in California.
Bruce Curtis says
I ride a motorcycle on I-5 and everywhere else in California. Interstates and freeways are the safest place to be because everyone is going the same direction at about the same speed. The dangerous places are the surface streets: intersections and stop signs where people are changing lanes, running lights and texting. In those situations, you have to drive for everyone else around you who isn’t paying attention. Regarding turbulence and shear close to the ground, that is normal at certain times of the year, such as early Spring at Mammoth Lakes airport, where wave and rotors in the surrounding mountain lee can make for lively flying. Naturally, very slow flight increases risk in windy conditions, where the gusts are a greater percentage of your true airspeed than in aircraft with higher wing loadings and faster approach speeds. –Bruce Curtis, ATP/CFI, A, I, ME