On June 15, 2002, about 1215 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172R, N9857F, registered to a private owner, operated by Barn Stormer as a 14 CFR Part 91 banner tow flight, crashed during a banner pick up in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The commercial pilot reported no injuries. The flight originated from Grand Strand Airport, North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, at 1205.

The pilot stated he departed Grand Strand Airport and remained in closed traffic to pick up a banner in the banner tow area located west of runway 05. He made an approach and missed the banner, went back around, made another approach, and missed again. He picked up the banner on the 3rd attempt. The airplane was in a nose up attitude as the banner started to come off the ground, and the airplane started to sink. He released the banner, the airplane continued to sink, and he lowered the nose. The airplane stalled, the wings were rocking back and forth, and the flight controls would not control the airplane. The airplane continued to sink until the left wing collided with the ground. The airplane came to rest on its landing gear. When the pilot exited the airplane, he observed that both wings had been damaged and the engine assembly was bent downward. The pilot stated he did not experience any anomalies with the airplane before it stalled.

The pilot did not report airspeed information when the airplane began to sink, a review of the Cessna 172R Skyhawk Information Manual indicates in Section 5, Performance, Figure 5-3, Stall Speeds, with a most rearward center of gravity with flaps up that the airplane will stall at 44 KIAS or 51 KCAS with 0-degrees angle of bank. It further states altitude loss during a stall recovery may be as much as 230 feet.

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