NTSB Identification: ERA09CA246
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, April 09, 2009 in Scranton, PA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/13/2009
Aircraft: PIPER PA20, registration: N7653K
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.

During initial climb at 300 feet above ground level, smoke began to enter the cockpit area, emanating from the windscreen defroster vent. The pilot elected to return to the airport for landing on Runway 22. As he flared for landing, a gust of wind lifted the right wing, and the left wing then contacted the runway surface. The airplane ground looped, which resulted in substantial damage to the left wing rear spar and left elevator. Recorded winds at the airport, about the time of the accident, were from 240 degrees at 11 knots, gusting to 14 knots. Subsequent inspection revealed that two large holes in the muffler were the source of smoke. Prior to departure, the pilot reported that the engine backfired during his magneto check.

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

The pilot’s inadequate compensation for wind conditions during landing. Contributing to the accident was the distraction of smoke in the cockpit.

Full narrative available

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