NTSB Identification: SEA06CA103.
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Accident occurred Saturday, May 20, 2006 in Hamilton, MT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/03/2006
Aircraft: Cessna 172M, registration: N12808
Injuries: 4 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

As the pilot neared the airport, he was advised by the UNICOM operator that the winds were 270 degrees at 15 knots, gusting to 25 knots. As he rolled out on a left downwind for runway 16, the pilot determined that there was a strong crosswind due to the amount of crab required to hold a ground track parallel to the runway. As the pilot was turning onto final, the UNICOM operator advised him that at that point in time, the winds were blowing at 10 knots. In order to maintain the proper ground track on final, the pilot crabbed the aircraft into the wind, and then switched to a wing-low forward slip on short final. Although the touchdown was uneventful, about 50 feet into the ground roll, the aircraft encountered a strong crosswind gust from the right. The pilot was unable to adequately compensate for the effects of the gust, and the aircraft's right wing lifted, and the aircraft headed toward the left side of the runway. After departing the runway, the aircraft entered a large ditch, impacting its far side with sufficient force to result in substantial damage. After the accident, it was determined that due to building weather in the nearby mountains, the winds in the area were almost constantly changing direction and velocity.

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

The pilot's inadequate compensation for the wind conditions during the landing roll which resulted in his failure to maintain directional control. Factors included variable winds and gusty crosswinds.

Full narrative available

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