NTSB Identification: LAX08CA243.
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Accident occurred Sunday, July 06, 2008 in Canyon City, OR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/28/2008
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-161, registration: N2851Z
Injuries: 1 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.

The pilot reported that prior to departing for the flight to a ranch airstrip, he called the ranch owner, who advised him to always land to the south at the airstrip. While en route, he checked the weather at an airport located about 23 nautical miles from the airstrip and learned that the wind was from 310 degrees at 10 knots gusting to 16 knots. Upon reaching the airstrip, the pilot looked for a windsock or other wind indicator, but did not find one. He discounted the wind information he had obtained for the distant airport, as it was located over a mountain range from the airstrip, and decided to land to the south on runway 18 based on the ranch owner's advice. The pilot's first approach was "too fast" and he executed a go-around. On the second approach, he touched down and "felt an immediate drift to the left." The left wing tip struck a 2-inch diameter tree at the edge of the runway. The airplane continued veering to the left, and impacted a 4-inch diameter tree and an embankment before coming to a stop. The left wing spar sustained structural damage. The pilot stated that his "decision to land to the south, in a crossing tail wind with gusts, is the biggest factor for this accident."

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

The pilot's failure to maintain directional control. Contributing to the accident was the gusting tailwind.

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