NTSB Identification: NYC08LA049
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, December 01, 2007 in Gaithersburg, MD
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/09/2009
Aircraft: CESSNA 172N, registration: N259ER
Injuries: 2 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.

The 12-hour student pilot and the certificated flight instructor (CFI) were conducting their first flight together. The student had completed one takeoff, traffic pattern circuit, and landing, and initiated another takeoff in response to the CFI's instruction. After lift off, the airplane began to veer to the left, and despite verbal commands by the CFI, the drift and turn continued. The CFI then tried to physically intervene on the flight controls, but was initially resisted by the student. The CFI recognized that they could not avoid a treeline located 80 feet from the runway edge, so he leveled the wings and attempted to shut down the engine. The airplane impacted the trees approximately 10 feet above ground level. Subsequent to the accident, the CFI stated that he normally emphasized transfer of control in the preflight briefing, but he did not discuss that with this student. The surface weather observation reported winds of 5 knots. The accident was the fifth one in 24 years that involved the same treeline. While the treeline was coincident with the runway proximity limit specified in the advisory circular for airport design, the airport's 2002 improvement plan prescribed an increase in the distance between the treeline and the runway edge. As of July 2009, the treeline had not been relocated.

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

The student pilot's failure to maintain aircraft control during an attempted touch-and-go. Contributing to the accident was the instructor's delay in taking remedial action, and the presence of trees in proximity to the side of the runway.

Full narrative available

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