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N627PA accident description

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Tail numberN627PA
Accident dateJune 08, 2006
Aircraft typeCessna 152
LocationPeoria, AZ
Near 34.848055 N, -112.418611 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On June 08, 2006, about 1530 mountain standard time, a Cessna 152, N627PA, was substantially damaged when it collided with terrain near Peoria, Arizona. Pan Am International Flight Academy was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The certified flight instructor (CFI), who held a commercial pilot certificate, and the second pilot, who held a commercial pilot certificate, were fatally injured. The CFI was providing dual flight instruction to the second pilot. The local training flight departed from Phoenix Deer Valley Airport, Phoenix, Arizona, about 1445. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan had not been filed.

According to the operator, the flight was scheduled as a spin training lesson. The second pilot was enrolled in the multiengine CFI course, which required spin training as part of the curriculum.

Recorded radar data covering the area of the accident was supplied by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the form of a National Track Analysis Program (NTAP) printout from the Albuquerque Air Route Traffic Control Center (ABQ ARTCC). The radar data was examined for the accident time frame, and a 1200 beacon code was observed that matched the anticipated flight track of the airplane en route from Deer Valley Airport to the accident area.

The radar data spanned from 1448:40 to 1527:45. The data displayed radar returns that started at Deer Valley Airport and headed in a northwesterly direction, gradually increasing in altitude towards the practice area northeast of the Luke Air Force Base Alert Area A-231. The returns showed a gradual climb of about 380 feet per minute until reaching a mode C reported altitude of 6,100 feet mean sea level (msl) at 1458:06. The target maintained a northerly path around 6,000 feet msl until 1504:11, after which the radar returns reflected a turn to the west.

A review of the remaining data disclosed that the returns made several counterclockwise circular revolutions and zigzags from 1504:21 to 1527:25. During this period the radar returns indicated an oscillation in altitude of approximately 1,000 feet over 1- to 2-minute intervals. In this duration, the returns showed seven similar patterns where there was a short climb followed by a quick loss of altitude. At 1527:25, the target was identified at 5,500 feet msl and the following radar return at 1527:45, which was the last return, revealed an altitude of 3,400 feet msl. The last two radar returns are consistent with a descent from 2,100 feet to 1,250 feet above ground level (agl), in 20 seconds.

According to radar data recorded by the Luke Air Force Base (LUF) terminal radar system, at 1527:24, a visual flight rules (VFR) target (beacon code 1200) was operating in an area located 19-20 nautical miles north of LUF in the vicinity of the Quintero golf course. The track information showed radar returns at 5,600 feet msl, following a course of approximately 045 degrees with ground speed approximately 70 knots. At 1527:29, the track altitude indicated 5,300 feet msl with a of ground speed 70 knots. At 1527:34, the target information and target trails indicated a turn to the east with an altitude of 4,600 feet msl, at 60 knots. Ten seconds later, the radar replay showed that the targets made a hard right turn, rolling out on approximately a 355-degree course. The returns descended to 4,100 feet msl, at approximately 50 knots ground speed. At 1527:49, the returns were tracking approximately 330 degrees, at an altitude of 3,200 feet msl and 40 knots ground speed. The last radar return occurred at 1527:54; it showed an altitude of 2,800 feet msl, with a ground speed of 30 knots.


Flight Instructor

A review of the records maintained by the FAA disclosed that the instructor held a CFI certificate with airplane ratings for single engine and multiengine land, as well as instrument flight. Her most recent first-class medical certificate was issued on October 26, 2005, and contained no limitations.

A Safety Board investigator reviewed the flight instructor's personal flight logbooks. The two bound books encompassed entries dating from July 08, 2002, to May 12, 2006. According to the logbooks, her total flight experience was 903.3 hours, with 727.4 as pilot-in-command. She had amassed 428.2 hours in the capacity of flight instructing, of which 11 hours was conducted in a Cessna 152. The Cessna flight time was characterized as spin training in the remarks section of the flight log; all of the spin training flights were conducted in the accident airplane.

One of the logbooks indicated that on May 01, 2006, the flight instructor received 1.2 hours of dual instruction in the accident airplane toward a "spin checkout." The other Cessna time showed in the logbooks was listed as "stalls and spins," and conducted in August 2003 (1.3 hours) and January 2004 (1.3 hours). For the later entry there was a corresponding endorsement in the back of the logbook for instructional proficiency in stall awareness and spins (FAR 61.183(i)).

The operator provided a computer printout of the flight instructor's flight time in the Cessna 152 airplane. From May 2006 to the date of the accident, she accrued 32 hours over 23 flights; 14.5 hours were flown in the accident airplane. The flight instructor's last flight was documented by both the operator's electronic records and the airplane's status sheet. On the morning of the accident she conducted a spin training flight that was 1.2 hours.

Second Pilot

The second pilot (undergoing instruction) held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane ratings for multiengine land and instrument flight. He additionally held a private pilot certificate with a rating for single engine airplanes. His most recent first-class medical certificate was issued without limitations on June 20, 2005.

According to the operator, the pilot had acquired his total flight experience with their school. At the time of the accident, the pilot was enrolled in a course to receive his CFI certificate.

A review was conducted of the pilot's flight logbooks, which the dates ranged from July 30, 2005, to June 02, 2006. During that time, the logbooks indicated that he had amassed 201.7 hours total flight experience, all of which was conducted in low-wing Piper airplanes and flight simulators. There were no written remarks in his logbook that indicated he had received flight spin training. A flight instructor had however signed his logbook stating that on June 06, 2006, he had given the pilot 1 hour of ground instruction on "spins, spin entries, recovery procedures, stall/spin aerodynamics."

The logbooks disclosed that throughout his flying experience he consistently flew about one to two times per week. An entry was made on April 21, 2006, indicating that he took his commercial checkride, and only three flights were logged thereafter: May 10 and 17, followed by the last entry June 02; these flights totaled 2.8 hours. The operator provided a copy of the pilot's account, which revealed that he additionally flew 1.8 hours during that time (not shown in logbooks). The account paperwork also showed two "no-show" flights during that period. The pilot had originally enrolled in ground school toward the CFI certificate on April 03, 2006, but dropped out after 2 days. He enrolled again on May 01, which he passed with a 93 percent score on May 12.


The airplane was a Cessna 152, serial number 15281078, which was manufactured in 1977. According to the original application for a utility category airworthiness certificate completed by the Cessna factory, a Lycoming O-235-L2C engine was installed at the time of manufacture.

The most recent annual inspection of both the airframe and engine was recorded as completed on February 20, 2006, 76 hours prior to the accident. According to the airplane's maintenance records, the Lycoming O-235-L2C, serial number L-15194-15, was installed on the airframe in November 18, 2004. The logbooks and recording tachometer revealed that, at the time of the accident, it had accumulated a total time in service of 2,746.1 hours and 374.1 hours since the last major overhaul.

A review of the airplane's dispatch sheet revealed that the airplane was last flown on the day of the accident by the accident flight instructor and another student for a total of 1.2 flight hours. The entry before that was dated June 05, 2006, where the airplane was in maintenance to have the battery replaced.


Examination of refueling records at the Deer Valley Airport disclosed that the airplane was last fueled on June 05, 2006, with the addition of 20 gallons of 100LL aviation gasoline.

During the removal of the wreckage, aircraft recovery personnel observed fuel spilling out of both wings.

Weight and Balance

Investigators attempted to reconstruct the airplane's weight and center of gravity (CG) at the time of the accident. The fuel was estimated to be 96 pounds, which accounted for 1.9 hours of fuel burned in the flight prior (1.2 hours) and the initial portion of the accident flight (0.7 hours). The occupant weights were determined from official state identification records as follows: flight instructor, 100 pounds; second pilot, 230 pounds. Using this reconstruction, the gross weight of the airplane at the time of the accident was estimated to be 1,627 pounds with a CG at 32.9 inches. According to the Cessna 152 Pilot's Operating Handbook (POH), the maximum allowable gross weight was 1,670 pounds, and the CG envelope range at 1,627 pounds was from 32.5 to 36.5 inches. A sheet detailing the computations is in the public docket for this report.


A routine aviation weather report (METAR) for Deer Valley Airport was issued at 1453. It stated: skies clear; wind from 200 degrees at 9 knots, gusting to 14 knots; temperature 100 degrees Fahrenheit; dew point 45 degrees Fahrenheit; and altimeter 29.78 inHg.


The wreckage was located at 33 degrees 50.53 minutes north latitude and 112 degrees 25.06 minutes west longitude. The elevation was approximately 2,150 feet msl. All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the scene. The airplane came to rest on the side of a hill (peaking about 220 feet in height).

The first identified point of impact was a crater of disturbed soil located 100 feet from the main wreckage on the southeast side of the hill, just below its peak. According to the FAA inspector who initially responded to the accident, the crater was consistent with an imprint of the fuselage and nose landing gear. A path of wreckage debris was noted extending from the impact crater on a 135-degree magnetic bearing ending at the main wreckage, located on the other side of the hill. The propeller was found in between the initial crater and main wreckage. The engine was displaced from its mounts and came to rest a few feet to the east of the firewall.

Within the wreckage a kneeboard was found with a loose piece of notebook paper secured in its clip. The paper contained several handwritten notations. Shorthand notes of an ATIS (Automated Terminal Information System) report were on the paper, which showed an altimeter setting of 29.81 inHg; the numbers written were consistent with the METAR report given at 1353. The paper additionally had a list written as follows:

-aileron neutral -throttle idle -opposite rudder -pitch down


The Maricopa County Office of the Medical Examiner performed autopsies on the flight instructor and second pilot on June 13, 2006.

The FAA Toxicology Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological testing on the flight instructor and second pilot. The specimens tested negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, ethanol and other tested drugs.


Investigators from the Safety Board, FAA, Cessna Aircraft Company, and Textron Lycoming examined the wreckage on June 15, 2006, at the facilities of Air Transport, Phoenix.


The left wing remained affixed to the fuselage with the aileron and wing flap control surfaces still attached at their respective hinges. The wing sustained aft crush deformation, with the leading edge skin folded into itself giving it an accordianed appearance. The crush began 64 inches inboard, and increased gradually with the greatest crush deformation present in the most outboard portion of the wing, where it measured 8 inches aft. Further crush deformation was found to the left wing's leading edge position on the bottom area of the wing, outboard of the strut. The wing tip was still attached with the navigation light missing.

The right wing was separated from the fuselage. The aileron and flap control surfaces were still attached. The strut was still partially attached. The leading edge displayed crush deformation with the skin folded into itself giving an accordianed appearance from the outboard section to about 59 inches inboard. The wing tip was not attached.

The flap control surfaces were found in the retracted position. The actuator jackscrew was almost flush with the body, revealing no threads. A representative for Cessna Aircraft stated that the position of the jackscrew was consistent to the flaps being in the retracted position. Flap cable continuity was established from the control surface to each wing root.

The aileron surfaces on each wing were attached with a bend in the outboard portion, which was partially separated. Cable continuity was established from the control surfaces to the wing root where the cable was separated and marked as being intentionally severed by personnel who recovered the airplane. Cables were found attached to the control yoke assembly, but investigators were not able to trace them through the cockpit area due to the extensive crush damage in that area. Investigators pulled the cable out of the crush area and did not note any anomalies on the cable exterior. The aileron pullies in that area were compromised.

The rudder control surface remained affixed to the vertical fin structure, but was slightly distorted near the middle hinge area. The tail cone was pushed upwards, resulting in the distorted skin contacting the left rudder horn. Investigators could manipulate the rudder through the full motion of travel with slight difficulty due to binding from the tail cone deformation. The rudder stop bolts were both intact, and remained attached to the distorted skin of the tail cone. The bolts were skewed with the distorted skin and safety wire was present on both. The rudder horn was intact, with the respective rudder bumpers attached. The bumper faces each had shinny areas visible, which the Cessna representative stated was consistent with normal repetitive contact chipping away the painted surface.

The rudder cables were attached to rudder horn, and continuity was established to the forward tail cone through a series of pullies and runs through lightning holes. At the forward tail cone, the airframe was severed for recovery and the rudder cables were cut and marked by the recovery personnel. The left rudder cable was found in the run of the pulley in the aft tailcone and observed going through a hole in the bulkhead assembly station 173.41. The right rudder cable was found within the runs of two pulleys in the aft tailcone and went through a fairlead in the forward tailcone area.

The rudder cables were traced through the fuselage and found to be bound by airframe deformation. Investigators manipulated airframe skin and cut through the fuselage to free the bound cables. The rudder cables were found near their respective pullies and traced to forward pullies where they ran freely to the rudder pedal assembly. The left rudder cable separated aft of the forward pulley in the comprised section of cockpit. That separated cable measured 30 inches from the rudder attachment point to the area where it separated. The remainder of the cable measured 51 inches to the cut in the forward tail cone; with the empennage section of cable measuring 109 inches. The right rudder cable was continuous from

(c) 2009-2011 Lee C. Baker. For informational purposes only.