On January 30, 2011, about 1350 eastern standard time, a Cessna 172P, N55212, sustained substantial damage when it impacted the terrain after it hit trees during an aborted landing from runway 26 (3001 feet by 70 feet, asphalt) at the Lawrence County Airport (HTW), South Point, Ohio. The private pilot and passenger received minor injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by Attitude Aviation under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The flight departed HTW at 1335 en route to Logan, West Virginia.

In an interview with inspectors from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the pilot reported that when he arrived at the airport, he noted that the accident airplane had just returned from a flight. He conducted a preflight inspection of the rental airplane and noted that there were about 12 gallons of fuel in the right tank and 11 gallons in the left tank. He sumped the fuel tanks and found the fuel free of contaminants. After engine start, he taxied to the ramp’s run-up area and conducted the engine run-up. He checked the magnetos and carburetor heat and found no anomalies. After completing his run-up, he back taxied on runway 8 into position for takeoff. After a final inspection of engine instruments and flight instruments/controls, he proceeded to apply full throttle for the takeoff run.

He stated that the takeoff was normal. He continued to climb on the runway heading and noted that he had cleared the high terrain that lies just north of the airport. The pilot reported that the engine suddenly and continuously started to sound as if it was running “rough” and “missing”. He stated he did not check engine instruments, keeping his focus outside. He immediately executed a steep left turn to return and land. Upon completing the turn, he realized he was too high for his intended landing on runway 26. He retarded the throttle to idle, extended full flaps, executed a forward slip, and began a series of shallow S-turns to lose altitude. He did not remember if he applied carburetor heat, although that was his normal practice.

On the final approach for runway 26, he knew he was too high and “slightly” fast. He stated that the airspeed was 70-75 knots as the airplane crossed the threshold and began to “float” down the runway. The airplane touched down about 2,000 feet down the runway, and he applied the toe brakes without effect. He stated his focus was on the tree line at the end of the runway. He stated as the aircraft approached the tree line, he realized he was going to hit the trees. He applied full power and attempted to retract the flaps “one notch” to avoid hitting the trees low, still not intending to go-around with a “faulty” engine. He stated that the flaps came “all the way up” as he raised the nose to avoid hitting the trees. He reported that the airspeed indicator read 60 knots as the stall horn sounded and the airplane impacted the tree tops. The left wing dropped and the airplane rotated to the left with the nose impacting the ground. The airplane came to rest in an upright position facing the runway. The pilot and passenger evacuated the airplane out the passenger’s door.

FAA inspectors examined the airplane at the accident site. It was substantially damaged, but generally in one piece. The first impact scar and matching paint chips indicated that the left wingtip made first contact with the ground. The wing and fuselage were substantially damaged. One propeller blade exhibited tip curl. The other blade was bent forward, but the leading edge exhibited nicks and gouges. Inspection of the instrument panel indicated that the carburetor heat was on, the throttle was full open, and the flaps were set at 0 degrees. First responders reported that they had moved the fuel selector/mixture to the OFF position. The engine oil level was found to be at 5.25 quarts and both wing fuel tanks were found to be approximately 3/4 full. Fuel sumped from wing tanks and lower sump was found to be clean and free of contaminants. An engine continuity field test was performed and no anomalies were noted. Spark plugs, filters, fuel lines, magnetos, carburetor, and engine compression were all found to be satisfactory. The inspection of the aircraft logbook entries and all required documentation revealed no discrepancies.

The student pilot, who had flown the accident airplane prior to the accident flight, reported that he did not experience any engine problems or icing conditions during his 0.6 hour flight.

At 1351, the reported surface weather observation at (HTS) located 5 nautical miles southwest of HTW was: wind 040 degrees at 7 knots, 10 miles visibility, sky clear, temperature 7 degrees Celsius (C), dew point 1 degree C, altimeter 30.10.

The Carburetor Icing Chart indicates that “Serious Icing – Any Power” exists with a temperature of 7 degrees C and a dew point of 1 degrees C.

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