FTW97LA038
FTW97LA038

On November 9, 1996, approximately 1125 mountain standard time, a Piper PA-18-125 (as per registration, upgraded to a PA-18-150), N1334A, was substantially damaged when it nosed over during landing at Westcliffe, Colorado. The airline transport pilot and private pilot rated-passenger were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight conducted under Title 14 CFR Part 91. The flight originated from Erie, Colorado, at 1000.

According to his accident report, the pilot entered a left downwind leg for runway 31 (7,000 feet x 40 feet, asphalt). The windsock appeared "limp, favoring down the runway from the northwest." The pilot said the airplane touched down on the runway centerline approximately 1,000 feet past the threshold. The airplane began drifting slightly to the right and the pilot corrected with opposite rudder. The airplane then drifted to the left and the left main wheel went off the edge of the runway. The pilot attempted to return the airplane to the centerline when the "left main caught on pavement edge and the airplane came free, veering hard right." The airplane went off the right side of the runway about 1,300 to 1,500 feet past the threshold at a 40 degree angle. It went down an embankment into soft soil and nosed over.

In his report, the pilot listed conditions which he felt contributed to the accident, to wit:

"1. Runway surface is rough with irregular longitudinal grooves in the asphalt, which can catch a small tail wheel (airplane) and upset (its) direction.

"2. Runway is approximately 4 inches thick asphalt with shoulder of soft, loose, expansive soil which causes a 4 inch high lip.

"3. Terrain falls sharply away from runway on each side with soft, expansive soil. Loose soil caught main gear and gear dug in."

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