NTSB Identification: LAX02LA100.
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Accident occurred Sunday, March 03, 2002 in SONOMA, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/02/2004
Aircraft: Aeronca C-3, registration: N17438
Injuries: 1 Serious,1 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

During the takeoff climb out, the airplane veered to the right and nose dived into a junkyard. A passenger who held a student pilot certificate, was invited by the owner to fly the airplane. The owner placed the student in the left seat, which was the side that had the flight control stick, rudder pedals, and brakes. The owner sat in the right seat, which did not have a flight control stick but did have rudder pedals. The student said there were no problems encountered during takeoff. Once they had climbed over the tress, the left wing dropped abruptly. A couple of seconds after she corrected the wings to a straight and level attitude, the pilot-in-command reached over to her side and took over the flight controls. The airplane banked and fell off to the right and struck the ground in a nose-down, left wing low attitude. Initial and follow-up examinations of the airplane and powerplant did not expose any preimpact mechanical discrepancies.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

the pilot's excessive remedial control inputs in response to a passenger's control inputs, which led to a failure to maintain an adequate airspeed and an inadvertent stall/mush. The pilot's inadequate preflight decision to allow a student pilot to occupy the only seat with full flight controls was a factor in the accident.

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