NTSB Identification: LAX02LA140.
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Accident occurred Friday, April 19, 2002 in Sedona, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/30/2003
Aircraft: Cessna T206H, registration: N377ME
Injuries: 4 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The airplane sustained substantial fuselage structural damage after porpoising following a bounced landing on runway 21. The official automated surface observation system (ASOS) observation at the time of the accident included winds from 170 degrees at 19 knots with higher gusts to 26 knots, yeilding a crosswind component that varied from 12 to 19 knots. The pilot reported that the flight was smooth until about 15 minutes from landing at Sedona when turbulence was encountered. Nearing the airport, he obtained the surface weather from the ASOS recording and noted that the winds were given as from 170 degrees at 10 knots gusting to 21 variable to 190 degrees at 12 knots with higher gusts to 23. The pilot selected runway 21 and said that during the approach, "a change in airspeed of 15 knots was observable." He noted that he reduced power after touchdown and a gust of wind "lifted the aircraft off the runway and I started porpoising and hit the tail on the runway." The accident sequence was witnessed by the owner of a fixed-base operator (FBO) on the airport. He reported that the pilot was trying to land on runway 21 with a strong quartering headwind that had a significant gust component. He saw the airplane bounce off the main gear and begin a series of porpoise like pilot induced oscillations where the airplane bounced from the nose wheel to the main gear and back again, with an increasing amplitude. On the fourth porpoise, the airplane's tail struck the runway. According to the limitations section of the Cessna T206H Pilot Operating Handbook, the airplane's maximum demonstrated crosswind capability is 15 knots. Engineering personnel from Cessna reported that the 15-knot crosswind capability is not a limitation, it is only the maximum crosswind component that the aircraft was landed in during certification flight testing. The pilot's private certificate was issued on February 27, 2002. The pilot said there were no mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane prior to the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The pilot's inadequate compensation for the variable, gusty and crosswind conditions, which led to a bounced landing and a subsequent pilot induced porpoise oscillation. A factor in the accident was the pilot's decision to continue the landing in a crosswind component that exceeded the maximum factory demonstrated capability of the airplane.

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