General Aviation News will often post summaries of accident reports from the USA’s NTSB and recently they posted a summary of an incident involving a Cessna 172 in Tucson, Arizona, that is well worth mentioning – especially if you fly in and out of airports where there are much larger aircraft. In the incident, a student pilot accompanied by a flight instructor had just landed and were cleared to taxi to a ramp. However, they also had to taxi past a MD-80 aircraft that was holding short of the runway. According to the investigation:
The student pilot applied aileron control inputs for possible jet blast from the MD-80. The CFI advised the student pilot to stop the airplane due to the MD-80. As the Cessna slowed to a stop, the MD-80 increased engine thrust to taxi onto the runway and the jet blast tipped the Cessna over onto its right wing.
Apparently, the tower controller reported that he began to clear the MD-80 for takeoff while he scanned the runway to ensure that all crossing aircraft were clear. He then looked back to see the Cessna taxiing right behind the MD-80. The controller stated that he then stopped issuing a takeoff clearance but by then the MD-80 had already powered up. Hence, it was ruled that the CFI’s “inadequate situational awareness while taxiing” had led to the encounter with jet blast.
In other words and if you will be flying in or out of a busy airport where there are large aircraft present, be sure to maintain situational awareness and lookout for those jet blasts.