On Feb. 23, 2019, a Cessna 172S was substantially damaged when it hit terrain during the initial climb after takeoff from Mansfield Municipal Airport (1B9), Mansfield, Massachusetts. The flight instructor and student pilot on board died in the crash.
Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the instructional flight, which originated from Norwood Memorial Airport (KOWD), in Norwood, Massachusetts.
After performing maneuvers over the local area, the airplane approached 1B9 for landing. Witnesses and a review of airport surveillance video revealed that the airplane was on approach to Runway 32, a 3,503-foot-long, 75-foot-wide asphalt runway. The airplane flared over the runway and floated a significant distance before touching down about 2,800 feet down the runway. The pilots then initiated a takeoff (touch-and-go).
Although the published traffic pattern for Runway 32 indicated left turns, the airplane performed a climb in a steep right bank before slowing and entering a spiraling descent toward a grass area near the airport terminal building.
The accident site was located about 11 miles south of KOWD. The recorded weather at KOWD included wind variable at 3 knots, 10 miles visibility, clear sky, temperature 4°C, dew point -7°C, and an altimeter setting of 30.41 inches of mercury.
The wreckage came to rest nose down in grass oriented on a magnetic heading about 270°; no debris path was observed. Fuel had leaked out of both wings and into the grass. Both wings exhibited leading edge impact damage.
The cockpit was crushed, but both front seatbelts remained intact and were unlatched by rescue personnel. The flaps and ailerons remained attached to their respective wings and measurement of the flap actuator corresponded to a flaps-retracted position. The rudder and elevator remained attached to the empennage and measurement of the elevator trim actuator corresponded to a 5° tab-up (nose-down) trim position.
Control continuity was confirmed from all flight control surfaces to the cockpit controls. The right aileron cable had separated and both cable ends exhibited broomstraw separation consistent with overstress.
The engine had separated from the airframe. The propeller remained attached to the engine; one blade remained undamaged and was bent slightly forward. The other blade was bent aft and exhibited chordwise scratches. The propeller and rear accessories were removed from the engine.
Probable Cause: The flight instructor’s failure to maintain airplane control during initial climb after a touch-and-go landing, which resulted in an exceedance of the airplane’s critical angle of attack and an aerodynamic stall.
This February 2019 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.