NTSB Identification: ERA10FA037
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, October 29, 2009 in Christiansted, VI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/13/2011
Aircraft: CESSNA 177, registration: N3431T
Injuries: 3 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot and a passenger, a perspective flight student, completed a preflight inspection of the airplane. Another passenger subsequently approached the airplane with two heavy bags. The first passenger put the larger bag in the baggage compartment, behind the rear seat. The second passenger then walked around the airplane and sat in the back seat with the smaller bag. During the takeoff, witnesses stated that the airplane appeared slow, with a nose-high pitch attitude, and an immediate dip of the right wing. They recalled the initial climb out was also low and slow. The tower controller asked the pilot if he was experiencing any difficulty, and the pilot responded that he was, and was going to turn back to the airport. A witness noted that the airplane appeared to be having difficulty gaining altitude, that the wings were moving up and down, and that the propeller was spinning. The airplane then made a sudden, sharp left turn and descended to the ground. A postaccident examination of the wreckage revealed no evidence of preimpact mechanical anomalies. Damage was consistent with a left-turning stall/spin at impact. The airplane's observed nose-high attitude, and pitch trim found in the full nose-down position, indicated the likelihood that the airplane was loaded with an aft center of gravity.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain airspeed, which resulted in an inadvertent stall/spin.

Full narrative available

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