On November 13, 1998, at 0900 eastern standard time (est), a Cessna 152, N5213B, piloted by a commercial pilot, was destroyed during a collision with trees and terrain following a loss of control during its initial climb from takeoff on runway 18 (4,002' X 60' dry asphalt) at the White County Airport, Monticello, Indiana. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The 14 CFR Part 91 instructional flight was not operating on a flight plan. The pilot was seriously injured and the student pilot received minor injuries. The flight departed Monticello, Indiana, at 0900 est. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The instructor pilot (pilot) said he took control of the airplane after the student pilot made a touch and go landing. He said he "...began a demonstration of a short field takeoff from a soft surface... ." The pilot said he "...reset the flap position, applied full power and added back-pressure. I leveled the airplane in ground effect, accelerated to a safe airspeed to bring up the flaps." The pilot said he pitched up to establish the airplane's best rate of climb airspeed. Once he had established the best rate of a climb the pilot said he applied further back-pressure to attain the airplane's best angle of climb speed.
According to the pilot's written statement, the "...aircraft decelerated... when the controls became mushy and slow to respond. Sensing an impending stall condition... the nose was lowered." The pilot continues, "The right wing began to drop and the airspeed did not increase as expected despite all efforts." The airplane descended into the trees and ground.
The student pilot (student)said that the pilot had told him that "...his friend was at the airport." He said the pilot took control of that airplane and began the takeoff. He said, "He used the entire runway to takeoff and flew the aircraft at a low altitude (3-5 feet above the ground) for a while. Suddenly he pulled the control yoke (I think the pitch was around 60-degrees at that time, but I'm not sure)." The student said the airplane reached "...almost 1,000 feet and I was aware that he had lost control. Because his face turned blue and the aircraft started to descend and turn to the right slowly."
Witnesses reported hearing the pilot talking to another pilot whose airplane was taxiing for takeoff on the same runway as N5213B was departing from. One witness reported hearing an occupant of N5213B tell the pilot of the taxiing airplane, "Watch this takeoff." This statement was confirmed by 2 other witnesses.
The witnesses said the airplane stayed in ground effect beyond the runway's departure end and pitched up at a steep angle of attack. They reported the airplane banked right and pitched down, eventually descending into the trees near the airport boundary.
Another witness said "...there was radio communication between the plane that crashed and another from Perdue U. The Cessna 152 landed, 18 [and] shortly after, the erdue pilot... commented on the landing... . The pilot in the 152 said, 'Yeah watch this takeoff.' At that point he was about midfield at a dead stop."
The on-scene investigation revealed no airframe, control system or power plant anomalies that would prevent flight. Both fuel tanks had an undetermined amount of what appeared to be 100 LL AVGAS in them. The fuel gascolator bowl had fuel in it. No water was observed in the bowl and its screen was not contaminated with debris. The cockpit fuel selector was observed in the "ON" position. The flap actuator measurement showed the flaps were in the fully retracted position.
According to the Cessna 152 pilot's operating handbook, 10-degrees of flaps extended is recommended for the short and soft field takeoff. An excerpt from the POH is appended to this report.