NTSB Identification: WPR12FA432
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, September 21, 2012 in Laramie, WY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/23/2014
Aircraft: KUNDEL VANS RV 7A, registration: N423RA
Injuries: 1 Fatal.
NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
The pilot approached runway 21 straight in from the northeast, after having completed a cross-country flight. Before attempting to land at the non-towered airport, the pilot overflew runway 21 before making a left turn and entering a left downwind for runway 21. A witness reported seeing the airplane while on final approach just east of the airport about 300 to 400 feet above ground level (agl), “...and everything looked normal,” but as the airplane got closer he observed some “wing rock,” similar to a small Dutch Roll. Shortly thereafter, when the airplane was about 100 to 150 feet agl, its left wing dipped a little, followed by the right wing dropping very fast, which was then followed by a spin to the right and subsequent impact with terrain. A postimpact fire subsequently erupted, which consumed the forward section of the airplane. The wind was reported to be 350 degrees at 14 knots, with gusts to 24 knots, about the time of the accident. A wind of such direction and velocity would have likely resulted in a significant tailwind for the pilot to contend with. The pilot’s decision to attempt a downwind landing in gusting wind conditions likely resulted in his loss of airplane control and subsequent impact with terrain. The airport was also equipped with a 90-degree intersecting runway, runway 30, which should have been the runway of choice given the prevailing wind; it was not clear why the pilot did not elect to use this runway. A postaccident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot’s decision to attempt a landing with a gusting tailwind, which resulted in his loss of airplane control during final approach and a subsequent aerodynamic stall/spin.
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