Oxford, MS 18 Year Old Civil Air Patrol Cadet Dies in Fiery Crash of CAP Cessna 172R, Jul 2019
A Civil Air Patrol cadet died from serious injuries on July 6, 2019 when the CAP plane she was piloting crash-landed on the Ole Miss Golf Course in Oxford, Mississippi.
The accident occurred about 3:15 p.m. on the 17th hole, not far from the University-Oxford Airport where Cadet Master Sgt. Elizabeth "Lake" Little was headed as part of cadet flight training to receive her private pilot certificate.
She was airlifted to a Memphis-area trauma center, where she passed away.
“Right now our focus is on Cadet Little's family and the members of her local squadron,” said Maj. Gen. Mark Smith, CAP national commander and CEO. “This is a tragic accident and we are praying for peace and comfort for everyone involved. We are working with the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration to determine what caused the crash.”
Little, 18, of Starkville joined CAP in August 2017 and had earned six promotions during her nearly two years of service -- the latest to cadet master sergeant in December. She was a member of the Mississippi Wing's Golden Triangle Composite Squadron, based in Caledonia.
She also enlisted in June in the Mississippi Air National Guard's 172nd Airlift Squadron in Jackson, where she was going to be a C-17 loadmaster.
In addition to her CAP and Air National Guard pursuits, Little planned to attend the University of Southern Mississippi in the fall to study speech pathology and audiology.
The memorial service for Little will be at 11 a.m. Friday at the First Baptist Church Outreach Center in Starkville. Visitation is from 5-8 p.m. today and 9-11 a.m. Friday at the same venue.
- Civil Air Patrol news
A federal investigative agency has released a preliminary report on the July 6th plane crash that killed an 18-year-old student pilot in Oxford, Mississippi.
The organization that was training the pilot, the Civil Air Patrol, said it’s too early to speculate on the cause of the crash.
The NTSB report quotes witnesses who said the pilot sounded “panicked” in communications with the control tower and that the plane made an aborted landing attempt, then rose sharply, turned and crashed onto a golf course.
The report cites a witness who said the pilot had attempted to land with a tailwind — that is, with the wind behind the airplane.
If the witness account is accurate, that’s a serious error because pilots are supposed to fly into the wind while landing to help slow down the airplane, according to Robert Katz, a Dallas flight instructor who frequently reads crash reports and discusses them with news media.
He said the report leads him to believe that the pilot had trouble finding the runway and approached from the wrong direction. He says that and other indicators in the recently released National Transportation Safety Board preliminary crash report suggest the student pilot’s crash, which occurred at the end of a solo flight that took off near Columbus, Mississippi and traveled to Oxford, could have been avoided.
Citing the preliminary nature of the crash report, J.F. Joseph, with Joseph Aviation Consulting, declined to offer a conclusion, though, he did say aviation investigators are likely to learn a great deal when inspecting the downed plane’s systems.
Eighteen-year-old Lake Little of Starkville, Mississippi, had recently graduated from high school and was planning to attend the University of Southern Mississippi. She dreamed of flying for FedEx — the company later sent commemorative wings to her family.
According to the NTSB report, Little had first received a student pilot certificate in August 2017, then received a third-class medical certificate in October 2018. That type of certificate is required for solo flights. At the time of the crash, she had logged 69.4 hours of flight time.
The preliminary investigation found the plane’s flaps appeared to have been retracted. Pilots deploy flaps when approaching a runway, because the flaps help provide more lift at slower speeds, Katz said. If the pilot retracted the flaps after the landing attempt, it would cause the plane to sink suddenly, he said. He believes that’s what happened in this case.
A witness at the golf course described seeing the airplane appearing to be “struggling” to maintain airspeed, with its nose up, and appearing to be very close to stalling, the NTSB report says.
The witness then saw the plane make a left turn and lose altitude. It struck the ground and slid up to nearby trees.
The pilot suffered serious burns in the crash, Ole Miss spokesman Rod Guajardo said in a statement earlier this month.
According to the NTSB report, bystanders and first responders tried to help the young pilot out of the cockpit, but her seatbelt and shoulder harness kept her inside. Then a fire started. Firefighters put it out and rescuers eventually extracted the pilot.
She was airlifted to a Memphis hospital, where she was later pronounced dead.
- AuxBeacon news
An 18-year-old Mississippi pageant contestant and aspiring pilot died after the single-engine plane she was flying crashed on a golf course near a small airport owned by the University of Mississippi.
Lake Little was performing "touch and go" takeoffs and landings at the University-Oxford Airport on Saturday afternoon when the Civil Air Patrol-affiliated plane went down in the nearby Ole Miss Golf Course, University of Mississippi spokesperson Rod Guajardo said.
Little suffered serious burns and was airlifted to a Memphis-area trauma center, where she died from her wounds, Guajardo said. No one on the ground was injured.
Her brother, Patton Little, told NBC affiliate WMC that she loved to serve others. He said she had been on several aid trips to Belize and recently enlisted in the Air National Guard.
"She was a great sister. She was a great person. She was one of a kind,” he said.
The maneuvers Lake Little was performing Saturday were a part of one of the last tests she would have to complete before earning her pilot's license, her brother said.
The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the crash.
Golfer Brian Rippee told WMC that he saw the plane lose altitude, and then it "just came straight down and hit a tree." He said golfers ran over to help as flames engulfed the cockpit.
Little was the daughter of Starkville Alderman David Little, and was slated to compete later this month in the Mississippi Miss Hospitality Pageant, according to the MS Municipal League and the Miss Hospitality website.
She had recently graduated from Starkville Academy and was studying speech pathology and audiology at the University of Southern Mississippi, according to her pageant profile. She aspired to "one day open her own speech pathology clinic to help children and the elderly" while also pursuing a career as a pilot for FedEx, the profile said.
She was also the founder of an organization called "Reading Matters" that has helped hundreds of children throughout the state, the profile said.
"The loss of such a bright, shining young life is devastating, and our entire organization is heartbroken," a statement from Miss Hospitality's pageant organizers said. "Through her grace, intelligence, and passion for her community and state, Lake epitomized the highest virtues of Miss Hospitality. Her light will forever shine as an incredible example to us all."
Gov. Phil Bryant wrote on Twitter that "a beautiful light has passed from this world far too soon."
"Deborah and I pray the dear Lord would assuage the pain and grief of her parents and family," he said.
By Elisha Fieldstadt, July 8, 2019
On July 6, 2019, about 1515 central daylight time, a Cessna 172R airplane, N994CP, impacted a golf course near the University-Oxford Airport (UOX), near Oxford, Mississippi. The student pilot sustained serious injuries that subsequently became fatal injuries. The airplane was substantially damaged during the impact and subsequent ground fire. The airplane was registered to and operated by the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed in the area about the time of the accident, and the flight was operated on a visual flight rules flight plan. The cross-country flight originated from the Golden Triangle Regional Airport (GTR), near Columbus, Mississippi, about 1400 and was destined for UOX.
A fixed base operator at UOX reported that he heard the pilot on the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF) notifying the air traffic that she was in the area. He did not see the airplane at that time. About 1515, he heard the pilot announce on the CTAF indicating that the airplane was landing on runway 9. The pilot's voice sounded "panicked" and she did not finish her sentences. The pilot did not respond to the helicopter in the area asking for her location. The witness saw the airplane approach runway 9 with a tailwind. The airplane did not touch the runway and abeam the windsock near midfield, the airplane started to climb at a "steep" angle. The witness indicated that there were no engine anomalies heard. The airplane headed towards the golf course and then the witness saw the airplane "go straight down behind the trees." Smoke was observed about 3 minutes later above the treeline. A local Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) air traffic control center called a few minutes before the landing attempt and was looking for the airplane. A co-worker hung up with the center and then called 9-1-1 notifying them of the crash.
A witness at the golf course reported that he first heard the airplane on takeoff or a very close to the runway. The first visual he had of the plane was above the trees over the 16th hole. The airplane appeared to be "struggling" to maintain airspeed, was nose up, and appeared to be very close to stalling. The witness indicated that the airplane then made a left turn and lost altitude. He thought the airplane was attempting a landing on the 17th fairway. However, the airplane continued with the left turn, struck the ground, and slid up to nearby trees.
Good Samaritans and first responders tried to extract the pilot from the cockpit. The seatbelt and shoulder harness retained the pilot in the cockpit. A ground fire subsequently occurred. Firefighters contained the fire, the pilot was extracted, and subsequently airlifted to a hospital.
The 18-year-old pilot held a FAA student pilot certificate issued on August 19, 2017. On October 5, 2018, the pilot was issued a FAA third-class medical certificate with no limitations. On the application for that medical certificate, the pilot reported having accumulated 20 hours of total flight time with 13 hours logged in the preceding six months. The pilot's logbook was not recovered. However, according to initial information from the CAP, the pilot had accumulated about 69.4 hours of total flight time, 30.2 hours in 172R airplanes, 32.7 hours in the last 90 days, 16.7 hours in the last 30 days, and 1.2 hours in the prior 24 hours.
The 1997-model Cessna 172R, was a 4-four seat, high-wing, single-engine airplane. It was powered by a 180-horsepower Lycoming IO-360-L2A engine with serial number L-29877-51. It drove a 2- bladed, fixed pitch, metal, McCauley propeller. The airplane's last inspection was annual inspection conducted on June 21, 2019, at a tachometer and total time of 2,834.6 hours.
At 1515, the recorded weather at UOX was: Wind 310° at 11 kts; visibility 9 statute miles; sky condition few clouds at 3,400 ft, scattered clouds at 4,100 ft; temperature 32° C; dew point 21° C; altimeter 30.04 inches of mercury.
UOX, located approximately two miles northwest of downtown Oxford, Mississippi, was a publicly owned, non-towered airport, which was owned by the University of Mississippi. It is attended from 0700-1800. UOX's surveyed field elevation was 452 ft above mean sea level. UOX was serviced by runway 9/27, which was a 5,600 ft, by 100 ft, asphalt runway. Runway 9 was marked as a non-precision approach runway. It was serviced by a four-light precision approach path indicator on the runway's left side. Comments for runway 9 indicated there were no obstructions.
The airplane came to rest on a golf course about 1,200 ft north of runway 9's centerline. The airplane resting heading was about 170°. A ground scar consistent with a left main landing gear impression was observed about 70 ft north of the wreckage. Also, abeam this ground scar to the east was a depression consistent with left wing contact. A ground scar consistent with a cowling and nose landing gear impression was found about 58 ft north of the wreckage. Retaining clips consistent with nose landing gear clips were found near this scar and the scar exhibited a depression consistent with a propeller strike. The fuselage's center section was found melted, deformed, and discolored by fire. Sections of the left and right wing struts were found under their wings. The outboard section of the left wing was deformed and wrinkled upward and rearward, consistent with ground contact. The empennage was found upright. The engine and its attached propeller were found inverted and the engine was partially connected to the firewall, underneath the forward fuselage. An outboard section of one propeller blade was melted and the other propeller blade exhibited forward bending.
An on-scene investigation was conducted. Flight control cables were traced, and control continuity was established to all control surfaces from the cockpit area. Engine control cables were traced and control continuity was established from the cockpit area to the engine. Removed sparkplugs exhibited a normal combustion appearance when compared to a Champion Aviation Check-A-Plug chart. The engine exhibited a thumb compression at three cylinders when the crankshaft was rotated. All rocker covers were removed, and all valve train components moved accordingly when the crankshaft was rotated. The No. 4 cylinder was removed, and it had material under its exhaust valve. Oil was observed within the engine crankcase when the cylinder was removed. The oil screen and oil filter were examined, and no debris was observed in them. The fuel servo screen did not contain any debris when it was examined. The rear mounted engine accessories exhibited deformation and discoloration consistent with thermal fire damage. The flap jackscrew was observed, and it did not exhibit any thread extension, which is consistent with retracted flaps.
The Office of the Lafayette County Coroner was asked to arrange an autopsy on the pilot and to have toxicological samples taken.
The No. 4 cylinder is being shipped to the National Transportation Safety Board Materials Laboratory for further testing.
- From the National Transportation and Safety Board Aviation Accident Preliminary Report
A preliminary report on a plane crash that killed 18-year-old pilot Elizabeth “Lake” Little in Oxford, Mississippi, July 6, raises questions about whether the young pilot’s instructors adequately trained her for the flight, a Dallas flight instructor told the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
“In summary, what happened to this kid is totally preventable,” Robert Katz, a flight instructor who frequently discusses plane crash investigations with the media, told the Commercial Appeal. “She fell through the cracks of a system that’s supposed to protect student pilots from this kind of catastrophe.”
Mr. Katz based his assessment of the plane crash on a preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which indicates Ms. Little attempted to land the plane on a University-Oxford Airport (UOX) runway with a tailwind. Pilots of small planes are supposed to land against the wind to slow the aircraft.
Mr. Katz told the Commercial Appeal that the critical error leads him to believe that Ms. Little had trouble finding the runway and approached from the wrong direction. The NTSB report noted that her voice sounded “panicked” in her subsequent communications with the control tower.
After the aborted landing, the 1997-model Cessna 172R rose sharply and turned. A witness on the golf course where the plane crashed told the NTSB that the aircraft appeared to be “struggling” to maintain airspeed with its nose up, adding that it seemed to be headed into a stall. The plane then plunged to the ground, hit the golf course, and slid up to a patch of nearby trees.
Ms. Little initially survived the impact with burns and other injuries but died later the same day at a Memphis hospital.
The NTSB’s investigation won’t be complete for several months, but the preliminary report said the plane’s flaps appeared to have been retracted. The flaps are deployed when approaching a runway to provide more lift at lower speeds. Mr. Katz told the Commercial Appeal that he believes the retracted flaps caused the plane to suddenly sink.
Based on the NTSB’s reported findings so far, Mr. Katz said he thinks the Civil Air Patrol and the instructor are responsible for the plane crash.
“We’re talking about children whose parents are trusting the elders in the CAP to set a good example and to protect their children from this kind of malfeasance, in my opinion,” he said.
Ms. Little logged just under 70 hours of flight time before the crash. She flew the plane solo from Golden Triangle Regional Airport (GTR), near Columbus, Mississippi, to Oxford, logging 1.2 hours on the July 6 flight.
The Civil Air Patrol issued a statement saying that it’s too early to reach conclusions about the cause of the plane crash. The agency said that the NTSB’s probe continues and “Any speculation as to why the accident happened is unwarranted.”
In an online message posted shortly after the crash, the Civil Air Patrol National Commander and CEO, Maj. Gen. Mark Smith, grieved the loss of Ms. Little and called on other members to be vigilant of safety.
“My request is that each of us, from a risk management perspective, reflect on the duties assigned to us. Whether we are in steady state CAP activities, involved in cadet special activities or conducting flight activities, let us ensure that our approach to and performance of these duties reflects the high standards of excellence and professionalism to which we are called. Doing so will honor our fallen member and help ensure the safe conduct of our operations.”
Mike Andrews, a lawyer in the firm’s Personal Injury and Products Liability section, focuses much of his practice on aviation accident litigation. He has represented people seriously injured in aviation crashes, and the family of those killed in both civilian and military airplane crashes and helicopter crashes.
July 08, 2019
National Commander Addresses Cadet Death in Miss. Crash
To my fellow members of CAP,
It is with deep regret that I inform you that CAP lost one of our own on Saturday. Cadet Master Sgt. Elizabeth Lake Little with the Mississippi Wing was performing a cross country flight in a CAP aircraft as part of her training to achieve her private pilot’s certificate. She crashed short of the airport and was transported to a regional trauma center, but died of her injuries. Please hold Cadet Little’s family, friends and local squadron in your thoughts and prayers. Further details of arrangements for our cadet will be made available as soon as we learn of them.
It’s hard to put into words how much of a tragedy this is and how deep of a loss it is. Such a loss affects all of us on different levels and different ways. Chaplains and CISM team members are available for any and all individuals who desire help.
So, where do we go from here? I believe that the best way for us to honor our cadet is to carry on with our assigned missions, with the level of excellence and professionalism we expect from each other and what is expected by the Air Force, our customers and the parents of our cadets.
My request is that each of us, from a risk management perspective, reflect on the duties assigned to us. Whether we are in steady state CAP activities, involved in cadet special activities or conducting flight activities, let us ensure that our approach to and performance of these duties reflects the high standards of excellence and professionalism to which we are called. Doing so will honor our fallen member and help ensure the safe conduct of our operations.
With a heavy heart,
Maj. Gen. Mark Smith
National Commander and CEO
C/MSgt Elizabeth "Lake" Little laid to rest video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4dw_XG30Po
Elizabeth Lake Little Funeral Service - https://youtu.be/42WPKMUl1o0
NTSB Accident Report - https://app.ntsb.gov/pdfgenerator/ReportGeneratorFile.ashx?EventID=20190...