PanAm Academy - NTSB Report


Does It Really Matter....?
Staff member
NTSB Identification: LAX03LA228
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, July 07, 2003 in Phoenix, AZ
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-181, registration: N288PA
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On July 7, 2003, at 1256 mountain standard time, a Piper PA-28-181, N288PA, collided with a tree during an emergency landing 18 miles northeast of Phoenix Deer Valley Airport (DVT), Phoenix, Arizona. The emergency landing was precipitated by a loss of aileron control during cruise. Pan Am International Flight Academy operated the airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 as an instructional flight. The private pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. The local flight departed DVT about 1215. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan had not been filed.

During an interview with the Safety Board investigator-in-charge (IIC), the pilot, who was working toward his commercial certificate, stated that he departed DVT about 1215 to practice maneuvers. He attempted to make a clearing turn at 5,000 feet above ground level (agl) by moving the control wheel to the right, but the airplane did not respond. He looked at the wing as he continued moving the control wheel and realized that the ailerons were not operating. The pilot immediately contacted Deer Valley tower and declared an emergency. He landed the airplane on a dirt road using rudder and throttle to control movement. Upon landing, the right wing tip struck a tree, breaking off 3 feet of the wing. The wing bent upward, resulting in the main door and baggage door being stuck shut.

During an on scene examination of the airplane, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector found the fastener from the left control wheel on the floor. The fastener attaches the control wheel to the control column. The inspector moved the left control wheel and found that the column would not move. He moved the column and verified aileron continuity. He also noted excess oil on the control column.

Index for Jul2003 | Index of months
man that has gotta suck. it sounds like if he had slid over to the right seat things would have worked out fine.
My first response was that he did a great job, walking away from a flight control malfunction.

But then when seeing it was just the fastener for the left yoke.....ops!
thats not the first time that has happened. when i was there a student was on a ride with an instructor and the control yoke completely detached on his side, they had to land it with the copilot (instructors) yoke. in any event, thank good the student came out of the situation uninjured
Why did he choose a dirt road instead of the airport he left from?

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That's my question also. This guy was working on his commercial, so he has some hours under his belt.
collided with a tree during an emergency landing 18 miles northeast of Phoenix Deer Valley Airport (DVT), Phoenix, Arizona.

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18 miles out and I would wager he was at a lower altitidue (Class B over runs that area at a shelf of 6,000 then up to 7 or 8 depending on the Lat/Lon) and depending how far south he was there's a 4,000 ft. moutain rang between him and DVT (not to mention another class D airport - SDL).
I was flying about 30 miles west of him that day and it was very bumpy and turbulent, my student was constantly fighting to keep the wings level. I'd hate to fly 18 miles in that with mountains around me and no aileron control. He walked away, so he must have done something right.
Where was he exactly (ref to ground points)?

And it's always bumpy out here in the day! Yeah we have great weather and clear skies but our turbulence will beat you to hell! Something that non-AZ pilots just don't know!
So am I to understand that the right set of controls were working? I could be completely offbase here, and before I start let me say that I'm glad that the guy is ok, but wouldn't you notice it if you were moving the yoke left to right and the second set of controls wasn't moving that maybe something was wrong with your set of controls?

Now that the plane is junked, can I have the A/C unit to install on a FSI plane before I start doing the CFI ground ref. maneuvers?

Anyway, like I said, I'm glad that he walked away from it unharmed.

I was curious as to how is was missed during the preflight, usually there are two control checks, pretaxi and pretakeoff where you move the yoke and visually inspect the ailerons for correct travel. The only thing I can think of is that the fastner came off during the flight after takeoff. I always demonstrate to my students that the aircraft can be flown with control surface failures. You can fly an airplane with only rudders and power or rudders and elevator, I suggest you all try it some time.

Bonus question...why do you have rolling tendency with neutral aielrons and rudder deflection when rudders control yaw not roll?
Wow, great job from the armchairs guys! Just wait till you get in an emergency and everyone tells you what you should have done. Of course, in that situation all of you would have had perfectly clear heads and done exactly the right thing - doubt it! He did the best he could and got himself down unscathed and that's what matters. What doesn't matter is a bunch of cackling hens who have obviously never been in a tough spot that required quick decisions.
The guys a stud as far as i'm concerned!

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I have to agree with Doug on this one. We can armchair/whydidn'the, this all day long, but the guy got it on the ground without killing himself or anyone else on the ground.
In response to Billybob.....anytime I hear of an accident I always try to imagine the underlying cause and analyze what might of led to the event so that I have a better understanding of its cause and how the pilot reacted to the situation. In many CRM workshops, accidents are studied and analyzed to teach pilots how to cope when such an emergency arises. I commend the pilot on his/her ability to control the aircraft with a control surface malfunction, becasue frankly, it doesn't get much worse than that, perhaps a midair or complete structural failure might surpass its seriousness. If my post implied that I was critiquing the pilots performance in anyway, please allow me to clarify that this was not my implication.
The guy did a great job. I'd like to see how some of you guys that are seconding guessing would perform in an emergency...
The guy did a great job. I'd like to see how some of you guys that are seconding guessing would perform in an emergency...

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I figure the problem happened inflight, since the checking flight controls free and correct is fairly common, and he'd more than likely have had to have maneuvered the plane in some way prior to noticing the binding.

Tough call to make, but he came out OK. So far as going back to the airport on rudder only; never a really good idea to take a plane with control problems back towards a populated area, as a rule. Ditching it out in the boonies where he did was a good call in that respect, IMO.
Hey, chill out guys.. There is nothing wrong with a little armchair flying not taken too far.. Studying things like this only go to improve safety. Speculation not taken too far is alright.

What if one of the people in this thread had the same problem, thinking on their feet they may not have thought of things we did here, and because of discussion and past pondering, they may think to check things like the other yoke.

Anyways..Great job to him for getting it down safely! Must have done something right

Bonus question...why do you have rolling tendency with neutral aielrons and rudder deflection when rudders control yaw not roll?

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You get the rolling from the diffreence of airflow over the wings.....more direct over forward moving wing and also slightly more velocity = more lift = roll. You also get a pitching moment due to precession