December 2001 Issue

Yaw Come Back, Now

Stall and spin accidents owe much to airspeed and bank errors, but yaw control is often the real culprit

The father of a commercial pilot in Florida wanted an aerial photograph of a nearby golf course. His son checked the almost-full fuel tanks in the Cessna 172, added three passengers and took off in the early afternoon.

As the airplane circled the area the man wanted to photograph at about 100 feet agl, the pilotís father saw the airplane bank left. The nose pitched down and the airplane impacted the ground, with catastrophic results.

The NTSB investigation turned up no reason for the accident, other than the failure to maintain airspeed during low-altitude maneuvering flight. Weight and balance calculations were not performed because the weights of the passengers were unknown and no...

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