LAX94LA179
LAX94LA179

On April 4, 1994, at 1735 mountain standard time, a Cessna 177RG, N35060, sustained substantial damage during a collision with trees while landing at Sedona, Arizona. The aircraft was owned and operated by the pilot and was on a personal cross-country flight. Visual meteorological conditions were prevalent at the time and a VFR flight plan had been filed for the operation. Neither the certificated private pilot nor her three passengers were injured. The flight originated from the Sedona airport at 1100 on the day of the mishap and was returning from the Grand Canyon airport.

The pilot stated that on the flight near Williams airport, she noticed the "high voltage light" had illuminated on the panel. She shut down all electrical systems and then turned them back on two more times, but still the light remained illuminated. After the second attempt, the pilot turned all electrical systems off. The pilot reported that she was aware of past electrical system problems on the aircraft and was concerned about the potential for an electrical fire.

She decided to bypass Williams airport and opted to continue on to Sedona where she knew a mechanic was available. She also considered the facts that Sedona airport was in sight, she was familiar with the airport, and the engine was running well. As a precaution, the pilot also decided to climb from her cruising altitude of 9,500 feet to 11,500 feet for the remainder of the flight in the event it became necessary to make a forced landing.

Upon her arrival at the Sedona airport, the pilot let down in the pattern. She stated that she turned the master switch on just long enough to lower 10 degrees of flaps, then twice more to make an advisory call on the UNICOM frequency, lower full flaps, and check for a green light on the landing gear. She said she did not hear any other traffic on that frequency and verified that she had successfully pumped down the landing gear. She also checked several of the five wind socks located along the runway and saw what she judged to be a slight cross-wind from the west. Subsequently, she established the aircraft at 65-to-70 knots on final for an up slope landing on runway 03, planning to touch down at the numbers. While established on final, she felt a slight cross-wind and prepared for a cross-wind landing. On short final, she applied full flaps and prepared to land. The aircraft was touching down "just past the numbers" when a strong gusting left cross-wind, which she estimated at 35-to-45 knots, caused the aircraft to weathervane and drift toward the right edge of the runway.

The pilot recovered and attempted another touchdown. The same thing occurred on her second attempted touchdown, although this time she opted to use a power application as part of the recovery. She again encountered a gusting cross-wind on her third attempted touchdown. By this time, the pilot was concerned that she was running out of available runway and, consequently, throttled back allowing the aircraft to touch down approximately 250 feet off the right side of the runway.

The pilot stated that she did not attempt a go-around after the third wind gust because she felt that, since she did not have her master switch on, it would be difficult to retract her flaps in time to successfully go around before reaching the end of the runway. She was also still concerned about the possibility of an electrical fire.

The aircraft was damaged as a result of collapsed landing gear and a collision with trees along side the runway. Uninjured, the pilot and her passengers exited the aircraft without incident.

The airport manager stated that the surface winds at the Sedona airport at the time of the mishap were measured as between 240 and 250 degrees at a speed between 25 and 31 knots.

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