Fatal Take Off With Full Flap in Cessna 150M

A 58 year old PPL with 363 hours (9 on type and 2 in the past 28 days) took off from Bourne airfield with 40 degrees of flap set in a Cessna F150M. It did not appear to climb and flew at low level above the runway. Approaching a line of trees beyond the end of the runway the nose pitched up and the aircraft banked left. The left wing dropped and the aircraft descended in a steep nose-down attitude into the ground. The pilot died and the passenger was seriously injured. The investigation concluded that the pilot had attempted to take off with flaps unintentionally set to the fully deployed position. The excess drag in this condition prevented the aircraft from climbing. A study by GASCo, quoted at some length in the report, suggests that the accident rate in the UK is higher for the C150 than for the C152.  

There have been two recent accidents in the UK whereby the inadvertent use of 40 deg flap on the Cessna 150 aircraft has been a causal factor.  

The report makes the following Safety Recommendation: 

It is recommended that the Civil Aviation Authority promulgates to flying instructors the need for specific training to highlight the differences between the C150 and C152 flap switch designs. Training should also include the effect one aircraft performance and handling of Flap 40 deg.  

There is also a sad report of a mid air collision in VFR conditions between an SZD-51-1 ‘Junior’ glider and a Cessna 150. near Leicester Airport. The collision occurred in Class G airspace and neither aircraft was receiving an ATC service. The Cessna was fitted with a transponder with Mode C and the glider had FLARM but these systems do not recognise each other. The instructor on board the Cessna was able to land with a damaged right wing but the glider tumbled down to the ground, losing part of a wing before crashing with the pilot still on board. The report calculates that the glider pilot would have had between 10 and 30 seconds between the collision and impact with the ground. Post-collision the environment within the glider is likely to have been disorientating and physically limiting due to the forces, which would have reduced the chance of a successful abandonment in the limited time and height available.

GASCo extends its sincere sympathy to the families and friends of those who died and to the passenger who was seriously injured.  

There are 41 GA Correspondence Reports, the greatest number in one monthly bulletin that your editor has ever seen. Of these 27 are landing accidents including 2 gear failures, 5 are take off accidents, 2 are accidents on the approach and 2 are taxying accidents.  

There are no less than 5 forced landings, all following power loss and all completed without any injury to the occupants. Inevitably there was much damage to aircraft but the aim of a forced landing is to save lives not aircraft so well done to five pilots who knew what to do in a sudden emergency and did it. Above everything else, fly the plane - all the way down to the ground.