NTSB Blames Roush Crash on Pilot Error

Race team owner failed to apply full power during Oshkosh go-around, Board finds.

Jack Roush Crash

Jack Roush Crash

Jon Whittle

The NTSB blamed pilot error for the crash of NASCAR team owner Jack Roush's Beech Premier I at EAA AirVenture two years ago, finding that Roush failed to apply full power while attempting to abort a landing on Runway 18R. As a result, Roush's jet stalled at low altitude, crashed onto the runway and split in two.

Roush was severely hurt in the crash on July 27, 2010, and spent several weeks in the hospital. His only passenger suffered minor injuries.

ATC recordings on the day of the accident show that Roush established contact with the tower controller and entered a left traffic pattern for Runway 18R at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. As he was turning base, the controller handling departures at AirVenture cleared a Piper Cub for an immediate takeoff and angled departure (a procedure used by slower aircraft to clear the runway immediately after liftoff by turning across the runway). Roush was not monitoring the departure frequency and therefore did not hear the radio transmission, the NTSB noted.

Roush told investigators he became concerned that his descent path to the runway would conflict with the Piper Cub, and as a result he overshot the runway centerline during his turn to final. At this point, according to the accident report, he decided to abort the landing. Roush said he “initiated a go-around, increasing engine power slightly, but not to takeoff power” as he looked for additional traffic to avoid. He estimated that he advanced the throttle levers “probably a third of the way to the stops,” and as he looked for traffic, the stall warning stick-shaker and stick-pusher systems activated almost simultaneously as the right wing stalled. The airplane subsequently collided with terrain in a nose-down, right-wing-low attitude.

The NTSB said a post-accident review of available ATC communications, amateur video of the accident sequence, controller and witness statements, and position data recovered from the accident airplane indicated that the Piper Cub was already airborne, had turned left, and was clear of runway 18R when Roush was turning from base to final.

The NTSB determined the probable cause of the accident was “the pilot's decision not to advance the engines to takeoff power during the go-around, as stipulated by the airplane flight manual, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall at a low altitude.”