FTW99LA138
FTW99LA138

On May 12, 1999, at 1800 central daylight time, a Cessna 152, single-engine airplane, N4608Q, was destroyed when it impacted trees and an embankment while maneuvering near Washington, Oklahoma. The airplane was owned by a private individual and operated by Airman Flight School, Norman, Oklahoma, under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The commercial pilot/flight instructor and the student pilot received serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions (VFR) prevailed for the instructional flight, and a flight plan was not filed. The flight departed Norman, Oklahoma.

The flight instructor and the director of operations for the flight school reported that during the instructional flight maneuvers, the flight instructor had the student perform a practice emergency landing. During the base to final turn at approximately 400 to 500 feet agl, the "student applied excessive left rudder" and the airplane stalled and entered a spin. The flight instructor further reported that it was difficult for her to get the student to release the flight controls. Once the flight instructor had the controls, she performed the emergency spin recovery procedures and "broke the spin with an extreme loss of altitude." The airplane, in a level attitude, "clipped the top of a large tree branch which pitched the aircraft to the right and nose down." Subsequently, the airplane "impacted an embankment and burst into flames." The flight instructor stated that "up to the point of the student's improper use of flight controls the flight had been routine." She further stated there were "no mechanical problems of the aircraft."

The student pilot reported that following the takeoff and departure to the south, he climbed the aircraft to 2,000-3,000 feet msl. He was then instructed to put on the foggles (view limiting device) and placed in several different situations of simulated instrument flight for about 2 hours. He was instructed to remove the foggles, which he did. The instructor "immediately" pulled the throttle, and he was given the instructions "your engine just quit." The student initiated the emergency landing procedures and looked for a "suitable/safe area to land." He glanced at the instructor and "it seemed that she was looking at something in her lap. Finally, she gave me permission to have throttle. I was very close to the ground, not more than 500 [feet] AGL, maybe less. Applying full throttle the [air]craft did something. What I do not know? The sound of the engine revealed I was descending not ascending. I saw nothing in my view, except the instrument panel." I stated, "no controls." The instructor, "still looking at something in her lap, then looked up and said my airplane. I put my left hand on top of the instrument panel and my feet off the rudder controls." The student stated that the instructor was in control of the aircraft at the time of the accident.

The flight instructor reported 600 hours of total flight time. She reported 400 hours of instructional flight given in the make and model of the accident aircraft. A review of the FAA records revealed that the Flight Instructor Certificate was issued on September 18, 1998.

The student pilot reported that his pilot logbook was destroyed. He estimated 65 hours total flight time of which 15 hours were in the make and model of the accident aircraft. The student pilot's third class medical certificate was issued March 24, 1999.

In the student's opinion, the accident could have been prevented if "proper maintenance" had been performed on the aircraft. He reported that during the flight the controls "froze up."

The FAA inspector and manufacturer's representative, who examined the accident site, reported finding physical evidence that the airplane struck a tree, an embankment, and spun around before coming to rest. The aircraft came to rest upright approximately 172 feet from the tree and approximately 35 feet from initial contact with the embankment. Site elevation was 1,216 feet msl at latitude 35 degrees 02.52 minutes North; longitude 097 degrees 34.54 minutes West.

The propeller was found embedded in the embankment. The propeller blades exhibited leading edge gouges and chordwise striations. The throttle and mixture control cables were attached at the carburetor.

All flight controls were accounted for at the accident site. Flight control continuity was established from the primary flight control surfaces to their respective cockpit controls. The rudder cable ends were observed attached to the rudder horn and the rudder pedals, with the cables running continuous. The rudder was moved left and right by pulling cables in the tailcone. Elevator continuity was established from the control column to the forward elevator control link, along both cables to the rear elevator bellcrank. Elevator cables were attached at both bellcranks and the elevator moved freely by hand. Aileron continuity was established from the control "Y" arm, where both cables were attached, to each wing root. The cables were pulled by hand at the root and both ailerons were observed to move up and down.

All cockpit flap controls and indicators were destroyed. Flap cable continuity could not be established. The left wing had fire damage that consumed the flap except for a "small portion of the trailing edge." The left flap drive pulley was found with no cables attached. The right flap drive pulley and tube assembly was observed with no discrepancies noted, and the right flap drive indicated that the flaps were in the retracted position.

A review of the maintenance records revealed the last 100 hour inspection was completed on April 26, 1999. This inspection record stated "replaced left aileron aft rod end bearing [and] replaced right rudder return spring." On February 23, 1999, a record entry stated "rebushed torque links, checked cable tensions. Replaced both rudder return springs and rigged rudder control system. Replaced elevator hinge bearings and bushings." No open aircraft discrepancies were found in the maintenance records.

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