CHI96LA106
CHI96LA106

On March 14, 1996, at 1500 central standard time, a Cessna 172, N3898S, nosed over on landing at the Tofte Airport, Tofte, Minnesota. The CFR 14 Part 91 flight was operating in visual meteorological conditions without a flight plan. The airplane was substantially damaged and the pilot was not injured. The flight originated from Ashland, Wisconsin, at 1400 cst. The pilot reported that he received a weather briefing from the Kankakee, Illinois, Flight Service Station on the evening prior to the flight. He stated he received the NOTAMS for the route of flight and there was no mention of the airport being closed.

He stated he departed for the flight to Tofte and he made a stop for fuel in Ashland, Wisconsin. During the stop he spoke with a local flight instructor (CFI) and asked if he knew anything about the airport at Tofte. According to the pilot the CFI told him that the airport was used regularly and that he should look it up in AOPA airport directory and in the Flight Guide. He stated he did this and no mention was made of the airport in either publication.

Upon reaching the Tofte Airport, he stated, he flew around the field and noted what appeared to be "multiple sets of tracks on the lightly covered field. In particular, I noted signs of turn- arounds at either end of the runway, where I would expect airplanes to turn around after run-up for takeoff."

The pilot reported that after touching down and rolling approximately 300 feet, the nose wheel dug into soft snow and the airplane nosed over.

In discussions with the airport property owner, it was revealed that the airport had been closed since 1993 for repairs. He stated that the tracks seen by the pilot were made from snow mobiles; however, at other times, airplane did occasionally land there. He stated the airport had been privately owned but was given to the county as they were going to make the necessary repairs to the airport/runway. The county did not do the repairs during the allotted time and the property was deeded back to the owner. He stated it is currently a privately owned airport which will most likely remain closed until 1998-1999, when the repairs can be completed.

The review of the 51st Edition of the Green Bay Sectional, dated January 4, 1996, shows the airport as being open. The current Airport Facilities Directory lists the airport as "Unattended. Arpt CLOSED indef. Rwy condition poor, 1-2 inch cracks and broken asph."

According to a specialist in the Airport Safety Data Branch of the Federal Aviation Administration, the recent history of the airport is as follows:

Green Bay Sectional, 48th Edition, dated 6-3-94 to 1-5-95 Tofte Airport was shown as a privately owned airport

10-20-94, Tofte Airport is listed as abandoned

Green Bay Sectional, 49th Edition, dated 1-5-95 to 6-22-95 Tofte Airport was removed from the sectional chart

1-19-95, Tofte Airport was reactivated

Green Bay Sectional, 50th Edition, dated 6-22-95 to 1-4-96 Tofte Airport was charted as an open public airport

8-25-95, Tofte Airport was closed indefinitely

Green Bay Sectional, 51st Edition, dated 1-4-96 to 6-20-96 Tofte Airport is charted as an open public airport

The specialist stated that the airport will only be removed from the sectional if it is "abandoned" or "closed permanently" not "closed indefinitely". However, the Airport Facility Directory will list the current status of the airport.

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