On November 29, 1996, at 1000 hours Pacific standard time, a Cessna 172, N1042G, owned and operated by the pilot, landed in gusty wind conditions on runway 26 at the Big Bear City Airport, Big Bear City, California. The airplane touched down adjacent to the south side of the runway, collided with a precision approach path indicator (PAPI) light stanchion, and was substantially damaged. The private pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight. The flight originated from Ramona, California, at 0830.

The pilot reported to the Federal Aviation Administration that he experienced moderate turbulence and gusty crosswinds during the approach to landing. During the landing flare, the airplane drifted south of the runway. The pilot elected to land rather than go around.

In the pilot's completed report, he reported that approaching Big Bear he monitored the AWOS and understood the wind was from 250 degrees at 5 knots. However, approaching the runway he was "fighting to keep lined up," and the windsock was 90 degrees to the runway. On flare, a gust pushed the airplane off the runway. The pilot further reported that the accident could have been prevented if he had had gone around or exercised "better crosswind landing technique."

At 1000 the Big Bear City Airport AWOS reported the wind at 360 degrees, 9 knots with gusts to 16 knots.

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