CEN09LA238
CEN09LA238

On March 17, 2009, at 1852 central daylight time, an Evektor-Aerotechnik AS Sportstar Plus, N906LA, sustained substantial damage when it impacted the ground during a go-around from runway 30 at the Airlake Airport, Lakeville, Minnesota. The airplane was being piloted by a certified flight instructor (CFI) and a student pilot. The instructional flight was being conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, and was not on a flight plan. The student pilot suffered a broken right leg/ankle during the impact. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The local flight originated about 45 minutes prior to the accident.

The CFI reported that the student pilot was practicing maneuvers to simulate slow flight and aircraft control before landing. The intent of the maneuver was to fly the airplane down the length of the runway with the wheels about 2 feet above the runway surface. The student was to control airspeed with pitch, heading with rudder, drift with aileron control, and altitude with power. The CFI stated that the accident occurred on the second attempt of this maneuver and that the first attempt ended because the student was too fast and had too much engine power. The CFI stated that the second pass "started well" but the airplane began to sink around mid-field. The CFI stated that he instructed the student to relinquish control and the CFI attempted a go-around. The CFI stated that the airplane started pitching up and turning to the left. He stated that he believed the student was pushing on the CFI's left rudder pedal. He stated that on other occasions students have had their right foot slip off pilot rudder pedal and onto the co-pilot left rudder pedal.

The student pilot reported that during the maneuver the left wheel of the airplane struck the runway and he inadvertently applied left rudder which put the airplane in the position of going off the left side of the runway. He stated that the CFI called for him to relinquish control and he did. He said that the CFI said to "get off the rudders". The student stated that at this time his feet were "tucked back under [him]."

The United Stated importer of the airplane was contacted regarding this accident. He relayed that he was aware of the accident and the CFI's claim that the student pilot was pushing on the rudder pedal in the opposite seat position. He confirmed that no divider exists in that aircraft model to prevent such an occurrence, but that the rudder pedal top tube has a protruding flange intended to prevent a pilot's foot from sliding off of the rudder pedal.

Since the accident involving N906LA, the manufacturer has issued an "Informative Bulletin" to address the possibility of a pilot inadvertently depressing the opposite seat rudder pedal. The bulletin states that a barrier is available to be installed between the pilot's right and co-pilot's left seat rudder pedals. The installation of the barrier is an option available to aircraft owners.

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