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AVN1102 Accidents From Aerodynamical Stalls in Single Engine planes Assessment Answer

AVN1102 (General Aviation Knowledge)

Written Assignment

  • Format: Report
  • Weight: 30%
  • Word limit: 2,500 + 10% 


This written assignment can be completed individually or in pair (i.e., two students together). If you choose to complete the assignment in pair, please ensure that the cover page contains both students’ names and only one copy of the assignments is submitted.

The report is based on discussing ONE of the following two topics in connection with a minimum of THREE general aviation accidents.

  • Aerodynamic stall; or
  • Airframe icing

The accident reports you choose must meet the following criteria:

  • Instructional flying; and, 
  • Single Engine propeller aeroplane. 

It is suggested to look for the accident reports by referring to the following web link (NTSB accident database).

Please ensure that your report does not consider human factors aspects.

This assignment aims to further develop your understanding of aerodynamic/meteorology knowledge and to give you an opportunity to improve your research and report writing skills.


  • Your report must include the following sections:
  • Title page;
  • Table of Contents;
  • Executive summary;
  • Introduction;
  • Main body;
  • Conclusion; and,
  • References
  • Times New Roman or Arial 12 font
  • 2.5cm margins
  • APA 6 for referencing


AVN1102: Accidents as a result from aerodynamical stalls in single engine planes

Executive summary 

The civil aviation planes have numerous safety measures that have been incorporated into the planes navigation system. this is an attempt to ensure the safety of the plane. Despite, the additions, the single engine planes continues to report the highest number of accidents compared to the larger turbo engine commercial planes. Moreover, the piston powered engines have reported the highest number of accidents compared to the other engine power systems. While most of the accidents are attributed to the mechanical failures, the other causes for the single engine planes include the mid-air collisions, controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) and the Loss in controls. Contrary, during the instructional flights the flights are conducted during the day and the flight instructor would either be in control or give control to the student. While the flight approval of the flight instructor is critical during the flight process, the student’s input is also notable. The cases that involves the accidents in midair for the flight instruction have led to fatalities of either or both of the occupants. However, for the accidents that involves the landing of taking off of the instructional flights, there has been injuries. 


The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has a responsibility to investigate the transport related accidents within the US and its borders for US interests (Dillingham, 2010, p. 1). The accidents range from the civil aviation to the selective modes of transport like marine (Dillingham, 2010, p. 1). The investigation will lead to a compilation of an accident report that will detail the cause of the accident and possible cause of the accident. The database for the accidents were compiled form the year 1962 that also marked the onset of the formation and formulation of the board. 

Aerodynamic stall 

The aerodynamic stall is one of the oldest aviation conditions that can be related to the mechanical failures for the plane. The accidents form the aerodynamic stall will mainly originate from the failures of the control inputs the poor understanding of the aerodynamic nature of the terrain. The aerodynamic stall is commonly experienced for the smaller planes and hence the instructional flights. Its one of the conditions that the student has to be made aware of in the initial flights by the flight instructor. The occurrence of the aerodynamic stall can lead to fatal consequences and this an also result into damages. The result of the stall is usually a temporary loss of control of the plans navigation systems. This will result from the air movements overpowering the plane engine causing it to slow down and the effects of the gravity are negligible in this scenario. At this state the effect of the gravitational force is not felt hence the plane would be suspended in midair. The knowledge of the aerodynamic stall is emphasized for the pilots during the training exercises. This will cause both awareness and preparedness should the condition arise. During the condition of aerodynamic stall there is the formation of the stall pockets that are responsible for the reduction in the relative speeds (Bond, 2018). The aerodynamic stall is associated with loss in the lift force hence the plane would begin to rapidly descend. In some cases there is a spin as the plane descends and the navigation systems are most likely to cause this and can have devastating effects.

Aircraft wing design 

The plane wing design is now an area under serious scrutiny due to the various nature and types of planes that are developed. For the civil planes the main configurations care made for the smaller aircraft are three. The most common type of plane, mono-planes, biplanes and the tandem wing planes. The mono-planes are some of the most common types of planes that have wings spreading on either side of the fuselage. The turbulence is evenly spread across the wing span during flights.  Contrary, the biplanes have wings on top and below for either side of the fuselage. They are not as common as the first configuration. The final type is the tandem wing with one placed in front of the other. This is one of the rare configurations found in civil planes. The wing configuration is vital part of the navigation system that would either increase or decrease drag for the planes while in flight. This achieved through increased angle of Attack (AOA) during the flights (NTSB (a), 2019; Geske, 2019)

Some of the types of light crafts with a monoplane wing are Diamond DA40, Cessna 172, Piper M350, Cirrus SR22 and Mooney M20 (NTSB (a), 2019)

Instructional related accidents in the past and the causes

The aerodynamic stalls have led to numerous accidents in the past and is responsible for numerous civil aviation accidents. The data below shows the annual instructional accidents that have arisen from the stall. The stall and spin lead at 81% as a cause. While the majority of the incidences were not fatal, the relative destruction to the aircraft would case most of the planes to be written off. During, the instructional flying the conditions that may exist may cause the training exercise to be terminated. However, the exercise would have to emphasize on the various pre-existing measures that can be taken so as to avert the situation. The other cause in the instructional accidents is the mid-air collision that can be attributed to the mechanical failure like the instrumentation. This often leads to fatalities since there would likely to be an explosion from the collusion. The other major cause is the controlled flight into terrain (CFIT). 

 Instructional Accidents and causes from 2010-2015

Figure 1: Instructional Accidents and causes from 2010-2015

(Geske, 2019)

In some cases, the causes of the accidents are numerous that means more than once case can lead to accidents. 

Single engine planes accident reports

The single engine planes have some of the most common application for rescue and civil application. It has a shorter runway duration and can work best with low fuel consumption. These planes are also commonly used during the instructional training for the upcoming pilots. The stalls in classified as one of the leading risks that is responsible for numerous fatalities that involve the smaller plane engines (Geske, 2019)

Mechanical failures 

The mechanical failures are one of the dominant causes for the instructional accidents that involves the single engine propelled. The mechanical failure for instance can be ruled to cause around 54% for the accidents during the instructional stage for the Single engine fixed planes (AOPA, 2019). This would lead to the engine failure and hence the aerodynamic stall would follow at this stage the plane would be out of control by the pilot. Some of the cases of the mechanical failures are as result from the fight control, gear systems and the instrumentation for the planes. Moreover, the aerodynamic stall is classified under the loss in flight control (LOC-I). The LOC-I is mainly experienced during the maneuvering and the emergency procedures (Geske, 2019)

Engine power types 

For the smaller planes the engine power types are mainly piston, turboprop, and reciprocating engines. The main type of engine that is commonly used is the piston engine. The piston powered engines have the highest number of accidents that involve the single engine planes at eight nine percent (89%) in 2010 (NTSB, 2019). In the same year there was also a high 81% of the accidents that occurred during the instructional flights.

Weather conditions 

During the instructional training, most of the training flights are conducted during the day. Infect despite the high number of trainings at 90% conducted during the day (AOPA, 2019) that was made possible for the good visibility. During low winds the low powered planes are more likely to experience aerodynamic stalls. The speeds would lead to a reduction in the angle of attack that would be required to increase so as to maintain the lift force. However, for the civil planes with a fixed angle of attack, the compensation is made for by the engine power. The failure of stalls is much more likely to occur for the Instrument Metrological Conditions (IMC) where there is the lack of visibility of the horizon. Some of such conditions includes airs peed awareness and the malfunction of the systems like the autopilot. 

Examples of plane accidents involving single engine planes

The plane accident that involved the Cessna 172S in 2019 February was ruled out as a mechanical failure. During the accident both the flight instructor and the student were killed and the plane was complexly damaged. The accident occurred during the landing process where the maneuver was miscalculated and this led to the stall of the plan and hence a nose dive (FSF, 2019). The plane was performing a steep climb that led to engine overwhelm and the plane slowed down. This led to a descending due to stall that led to a spiral path of action (NTSB (b), 2019)

In another accident that occurred in 2013 involving a CESSNA 152, recorded under case number CEN14FA057 was non-fatal but had the plane sustaining substantial damage. The cause was established to be the loss of engine power. This came from the result of the planes inability to maintain the air speed. This led to the plane taking a steep left turn that made it to get into a near vertical dive position for descend. The pilot was however not able to make a turn to get back to the airport from the aerodynamic stall that was experienced. The accident led to fatalities for both occupants of the plane at the time of flight (NTSB (b), 2019)

The third accident involved the CESSNA 172N that happened in 2013 at Loveland, CO. During the flight, the main cause was ruled out as a system malfunction. The plane veered to the right during a landing procedure that led to the damage of the brake system. the plane had an instances stall in mid air that led to a quick turn. Despite the fact that there were only minor injuries for one of the occupants, the planes braking system was written off. The accident also occurred in board daylight that ruled out visual challenges (NTSB (b), 2019)

Aerodynamic stall recovery 

The stalls that are experienced in some cases can be recovered. This would give the plane back the complete power to maneuver through the pocket and gain back control of the thrust and lift forces. The main aim is to reduce the angle of attack (AOA) so as to give the plane more lift force (AOPA, 2019). The purpose of the recovery is to ensure that the conditions that are prevailing and leading to the stall is rectified. This will enable the navigation systems like the rudder, flaps and the wings to not only regain the aerodynamic flow but also the structural integrity. The stalls can result into a major stress on the flight and the fuselage of the plane. When the stall is prolonged there can be serious damages that can lead to leakages of fuel and even cabin pressure. The recovery form the aerodynamic stall is done through the lowering of plane’s nose and this will lead to the ground effect. Contrary, while doing this, the fill power is applied to the engines. In the event that the nose wheel hits, the continued power is done but with avoidance of the flight level position for the engine (Geske, 2019)


The small engines mainly have a monoplane engine wing configuration with a fixed angle of attack for the wings. While this makes the planes easier to navigate can lead to a serious aerodynamic stall in the event of a reduction in the wind speeds. The result is a reduction in the lift force and the plane suspends in midair. There have been numerous accidents that have resulted into this condition due to the rapid descent of the plane and the nosedive into the ground. In most cases the civil aviation accidents involving the small engines are mainly by the piston powered engines. However, the aerodynamic stall is a condition that is recoverable and there are measures that can be done to ensure minimal effects to the same. 

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