NYC96LA043
NYC96LA043

On December 26, 1995, about 1530 eastern standard time, a Piper J-3, N28148, nosed over while taxiing to the ramp at the Westerly State Airport, Westerly, Rhode Island. The airplane was substantially damaged, and the commercial pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed. The local personal flight was being conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to the pilot's statement on the NTSB Form 6120.1/2:

...I approached the entrance to the taxiway a strong gust of wind picked up the right wing and simultaneously started turning the tail of the aircraft to the left. I immediately tried to correct the condition by applying aileron, adding some power for more positive rudder control and applying left rudder. While the tail responded to control input and began to move to the right, realigning the nose with the entrance of the taxiway, the right wing continued at a high attitude, not responding to control surface input...the radius of the intended turn had increased, and the intended direction and speed of the aircraft had changed...the aircraft left the hard surface and struck the ice and snow...upon striking the ice...the aircraft's throttle was inadvertently pushed forward due to the sudden impact, became airborne for a few feet and settled, with wings level, into 6 to 8 inches of packed snow...[causing] the aircraft to flip over....

According to the FAA Inspector's statement, the pilot said he landed on runway 32, rolled out to the intersection of runway 7/25 and made a left turn on the taxiway, as he entered the taxiway, "...the wind caught the right wing lifting the wing into the air." The pilot corrected the situation, and put the airplane back on the ground. Another gust of wind caught the tail and flipped the airplane over onto its back.

The FAA Inspector stated:

...that even l5 knot winds were a little high to be flying a J3 Cub...I think when he turned cross wind he did not pay attention to the position of his control surfaces, thus allowing the wind to create lift.

The pilot's total flight time was 1,775 hours, with 63 hours in this make and model airplane, and 1 hour in the last 90 days.

The reported local weather was; clear, visibility 10 miles, Temperature 30 degrees F, winds from 320 degrees, at 10 to 15 knots, gusts to 20 knots.

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