LAX98LA125
LAX98LA125

On March 25, 1998, at 1615 hours Pacific standard time a Cessna 150G, N2952J, lost engine power after takeoff, struck power lines, and came to rest inverted in the back yard of a residence near the Sonoma Sky Park, Sonoma, California. The aircraft sustained substantial damage. The commercial rated flight instructor pilot/owner received serious injuries, and the student pilot received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions existed for the local instructional flight and no flight plan was filed.

The student pilot reported that he was preparing for his private pilot check ride and had asked his flight instructor to practice flight maneuvers with him. The student pilot reported that they flew for approximately 40 minutes and returned to the airport to practice soft and short field takeoff's and landings. On the landing preceding the accident takeoff the instructor simulated an engine failure and the student landed without incident.

The student pilot stated that they taxied back to runway 26 for a soft field takeoff. Approximately 200 feet above ground level (agl) the student raised the flaps. He reported that at this time the instructor leaned the mixture. The engine stopped and both pilot's attempted to restart the engine. The student pilot stated that on the last attempt the engine "caught" and they both looked up and saw power lines and attempted to maneuver the aircraft underneath the power lines. The student pilot reported feeling a big jerk and then a tumbling sensation.

In a telephone interview, the student pilot reported that a couple of days after the accident he had an opportunity to speak to the instructor. The instructor informed him that the reason he had leaned the mixture was to simulate an engine failure on takeoff. The student pilot stated that his instructor did not indicate to him that he was going to simulate an engine failure.

In the instructor's written statement to the Safety Board he reported that at approximately 400 feet agl he initiated a simulated emergency. He stated that when the student did not lower the nose he took over the controls, lowered the nose and enriched the mixture. The instructor pilot reported that the engine was "slowly wind milling and did not restart." He attempted a restart of the engine, while the student flew the aircraft to an open field. The instructor reported that after repeated attempts to restart the engine, he observed a power line in their flight path and instructed the student to fly underneath it. The instructor stated that they did not see the telephone and cable lines underneath the power lines until it was too late. The instructor believed that the engine restarted at the same time they impacted the telephone and cable lines.

An officer from the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department reported that a steel cable was wrapped around the propeller. This was verified by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector from the Oakland, California, Flight Standards District Office who examined the aircraft on-scene

The FAA inspector could not establish control continuity due to the aircraft being inverted. He did note that the belly of the aircraft was covered in oil to the tail cone and there was no evidence of a fuel spill.

Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsis
Return to Query Page