LAX99LA114
LAX99LA114

On March 7, 1999, at 1500 hours Pacific standard time, a Cessna 180F, N345RC, ground looped while landing at Inyokern, California. The aircraft sustained substantial damage; however, the private pilot and his passenger were not injured. The aircraft was being operated as a personal flight by the owner/pilot under 14 CFR Part 91 of Federal Aviation Regulations when the accident occurred. The flight originated from the Furnace Creek airport in Death Valley, California, about 1400. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed.

The pilot reported that as he approached the airport he noticed two gliders in the traffic pattern. He called for a wind estimate and was told to expect winds variable at 5 knots, gusting to 10. As he flew nearer to the airport, he noticed that the wind tee and two windsocks were indicating runway 33.

During the approach, he applied 20 degrees flaps and reduced his airspeed over the approach end of the runway to 80 mph. He executed a wheel landing but began losing directional control just after touchdown. According to the pilot, he thought he had applied too much right rudder. He countered with left rudder but the aircraft began to ground loop. The aircraft swerved left and the right wingtip scraped the runway. He applied power in an attempted go-around but his right wingtip struck an airport sign. After impact, the aircraft veered right, struck a fence, a fence post and guardrail before coming to rest.

A Federal Aviation Administration inspector reviewed pilot and aircraft records. No deficiencies were noted.

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