DEN99LA032
DEN99LA032

On January 16, 1999, approximately 1315 mountain standard time, a Cessna 182M, N555NP, registered to Summerfield Aviation, was destroyed when it collided with terrain in Longmont, Colorado. The private pilot, the sole occupant aboard, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed for the personal flight being conducted under Title 14 CFR Part 91. The flight originated at Raton, New Mexico, approximately 1100.

According to the pilot's accident report, he had made previous arrangements with a friend to observe the airplane in slow flight as the pilot flew over [the pilot's] residence at low altitude. At an altitude of 500 feet agl (above ground level), the pilot reduced power, added flaps, and approached his residence. He said the light east-northeast wind increased in velocity as he banked from a northwest to a west heading, causing the airplane "to sink and [turn] south." He "attempted to steer out of a westerly [heading] with no effect." The pilot said that the airplane was equipped with a Wren STOL conversion, which made the controls "very hard and slow. As [the airplane] was configured, it is very difficult whenever the wind is not on the nose." The pilot said he had lost considerable altitude and could not maneuver because of his proximity to houses and other structures. He intentionally "put [the airplane] on the ground." The airplane's tail struck the ground first. The airplane crossed a ditch, struck a telephone pole, and skidded across a road.

A witness driving near the accident site observed the airplane twice descend "at a rapid rate of speed," then make "a steep ascent back into the air." The airplane banked "at a 65 degree angle" and seemed to "pivot." The witness added, "I did not see, at any time, the plane's wings dip as if it were fighting winds. . .I feel the pilot. . .exhibited very poor judgment and endangered other drivers who were on [the road]. . .I estimate there were 8 cars on the road at the time he crashed."

According to the Boulder County Sheriff's report (S99842), the pilot said he was "flying low over his residence. . .at a slow speed with his 'flaps down' when a crosswind pushed him to the ground."

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