February 2000 Issue

The Trainer That Bites

Uncontrollable flat spins and yokes that lock full aft create a deadly image for the Tomahawk

Last September an applicant for a private pilot license rented a Piper Tomahawk from an FBO in central Illinois, one of two Tomahawks the company had in its seven-airplane fleet. The applicant and the designated pilot examiner completed the oral portion of the exam and proceeded northwest of the airport to conduct the maneuvers required in the practical test.

The weather was good for the noon flight. A scattered layer of clouds was reported at 4,900 feet agl, the visibility was 10 miles and winds were variable at 5 knots.

During the maneuvers, however, something went horribly wrong. A witness described the airplane diving nose-low toward the ground with a counterclockwise rotation. Bo...

To continue reading this entire article you must be a paid subscriber.

Subscribe to Aviation Safety

The monthly journal of risk management and accident prevention, is packed with useful, timely information on basic and advanced technique, accident analysis and, most important, practical articles on how you can develop the judgment that will keep you in the air and out of the NTSB's files.

Already subscribe but haven't registered for all the benefits of the website? Click here.

Subscriber Log In

Forgot your password? Click Here.