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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: GAA16CA495
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, September 19, 2016 in Grand Isle, VT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/18/2017
Aircraft: PIPER PA 11, registration: N4681M
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot of a tailwheel-equipped airplane reported that about 450 feet above the ground, he reduced the power to idle to simulate an engine failure and forced landing. The pilot further reported that he “pushed the nose over” and made a “left tear drop turn” to land on the opposite direction of the takeoff direction. When the pilot had about 15 to 20 degrees remaining in the turn, and was about 15 to 20 feet above the ground, he reported that he increased “back stick pressure” and the airplane entered an aerodynamic stall. Subsequently, the left wing dropped and the airplane impacted terrain in a nose low left wing down attitude.
The left wing and fuselage sustained substantial damage.
The pilot reported no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.
The pilot reported in the National Transportation Safety Board Pilot/ Operator Aircraft Accident/ Incident Report that he misjudged the wind speed and did not realize he was completing the simulated training maneuver with a tailwind. The accident airport did not have an automated weather observing system or wind indicator.


The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • The pilot's failure to maintain adequate airspeed and his exceedance of the airplane’s critical angle-of-attack during a simulated engine failure and forced landing with a tailwind, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall.