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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: ERA16LA236
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, June 30, 2016 in Winnsboro, SC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/20/2017
Aircraft: PIPER PA34, registration: N44311
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The flight instructor and commercial pilot were conducting a currency flight in the multi-engine airplane. After completing an instrument approach, they transitioned to a visual approach and prepared to land. The pilot flared the airplane too high, and the instructor advised the pilot to lower the nose and add power, which he did. The pilot again flared too high, and the instructor was concerned that the airplane was going to stall. The instructor started to reach for the controls when the pilot initiated a go-around. The instructor said the pilot simultaneously pushed both throttles forward and that the airplane suddenly rolled to the right at a height between 2 and 4 ft above the ground. The instructor did not take control of the airplane at any time. The airplane's right wing and main landing gear struck the ground, and the airplane veered off the right side of the runway. Postaccident examination of the airplane revealed no evidence of any preimpact mechanical deficiencies that would have precluded normal operation. The horizontal stabilator trim actuator was positioned toward the full nose-up position, which most likely resulted in the nose of the airplane pitching up farther than expected when the pilot added power, which increased the airplane's angle of attack and exacerbated its already critically slow airspeed, resulting in an aerodynamic stall.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • The pilot's failure to maintain sufficient airspeed during a go-around, and the flight instructor's delayed remedial action, which resulted in the airplane exceeding its critical angle of attack and experiencing an aerodynamic stall. Contributing to the accident was the airplane's nose-up trim setting, which further increased its angle of attack upon application of engine power during the go-around.