ATL97LA051
ATL97LA051

On March 22, 1997, about 1040 eastern standard time, a Maule MXT7, N97SS, collided with trees during landing at the Clayton County Airport, Tara Field, Hampton, Georgia. The airplane was operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91, and visual flight rules. A flight plan was not filed for the local, personal flight. There were no injuries to the private pilot nor his passenger, and the airplane was substantially damaged. Origination of the flight was Hampton, Georgia, about 1000 on the same day.

According to the pilot, he was landing on runway 24 when a gust of wind blew the airplane to the south of the runway, and over the parallel taxiway. He attempted to land on the taxiway and was buffeted by additional gusts that blew the airplane into trees south of the taxiway. The pilot reported this gust to be extremely strong, one that he has not experienced before. The FAA reported the pilot stated "he was unable to control the aircraft, during a landing attempt, due to cross winds."

According to the FAA, the on scene investigation did not reveal a malfunction of the airframe or powerplant. According to the pilot, examination of the wreckage revealed damage to the right side of the fuselage, the right main gear bent, the right wing bent aft, and damage to the top of the airplane, where it was impacted by a tree.

Winds at the nearest reporting facility, Peachtree City, Georgia, were reported as 330 degrees at 8 knots with gusts to 15 knots. A weather briefing was obtained about 0800 from the automated flight service station. The wind velocity increased following the flight's departure, according to the FAA inspector who visited the accident site. The pilot stated that he obtained a weather brief from the Macon Service Station, at 0930 the morning of the accident, via the telephone. The pilot reported the weather as unlimited visibility, temperature 55 degrees Fahrenheit, sky clear, winds 330 at 8 knots with gusts to 15 knots. The pilot classified turbulence as moderate to severe.

The pilot reported that he had about 132 total flight hours, with approximately 31 flight hours in this make and model, and the airplane had about 22 hours since manufacture.

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