NTSB Identification: SEA04LA087.
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Accident occurred Sunday, May 16, 2004 in Polson, MT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/01/2004
Aircraft: Cessna 185A, registration: N1624H
Injuries: 1 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.


On the day of the accident, the pilot was performing a series of touch-and-go landings in variable gusty wind conditions in order to "...maintain proficiency on a gusty day." After three successful touch-and-go landings, he pilot decided to make the next landing a full-stop termination of the flight. During the subject landing, the wind shifted from a quartering headwind to a quartering tailwind, and although the touchdown was uneventful, during the landing roll the aircraft suddenly started turning toward the side of the runway. Although the pilot applied control inputs in an attempt to keep the aircraft on the runway, his inputs were not adequate to overcome the effects of the varying wind conditions, and therefore the aircraft departed the side of the runway. The pilot then added full power in order to regain control and execute a go-around. During that sequence of events, the aircraft's left wing contacted the ground and the left horizontal stabilizer impacted a runway marker. The pilot was then able to complete the go-around, whereupon he flew a normal traffic pattern and retuned for a subsequent full-stop landing. He discovered the damage to the airframe after taxiing to his hanger and shutting the aircraft down. There was no evidence of any anomaly in the flight control or wheel brake systems.

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

The pilot's inadequate compensation for the changing wind conditions at the time of the landing. Factors include gusty, variable, crosswinds, and a runway marker near the edge of the runway the pilot was landing on.

Full narrative available

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