Miscommunication leads to a CFI and a student pilot wrestling for control

General Aviation News will often reprint excerpts from the USA’s National Transportation Safety Board, include a June 2009 report about an incident involving a flight instructor and a student pilot that occurred in a Challenger II aircraft in Moses Lakes, Washington.

According to the accident report, the flight instructor instructed his student to enter a traffic pattern for runway 16. However, the wind was 250° at 8 knots – amounting to a right crosswind component of about 8 knots. The student pilot was told to perform a low approach above the runway but as the plane passed midfield, its right wing started to lift up and the airplane veered leftward. At this point, the student pilot added full power.

However, the flight instructor then announced that he was taking over and grabbed the aircraft’s controls. Unfortunately, the student pilot did not hear the flight instructor as the engine was operating at full power – making verbal communication impossible. Hence, he did not relinquish control of the aircraft. 

Ultimately, the flight instructor attempted to level the wings and increase airspeed but the left wing of the aircraft hit a parked airplane resulting in substantial damage and one minor injury.

While the probable cause of the accident was blamed on the student pilot’s inadequate compensation for crosswinds and failure to maintain control of the aircraft, a major contributing cause was the flight instructor’s inadequate supervision of the training flight and inability to effectively communicate to his student. In other words and if you are a student pilot, ensure prior to the flight that you have worked out an effective means to communicate with your flight instructor once you are up in the air.

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One Response to Miscommunication leads to a CFI and a student pilot wrestling for control

  1. Sylvia June 30, 2011 at 10:41 #

    Ugh!

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