On April 6, 1997, at 1417 central daylight time (cdt), a Cessna 172K, N46311, piloted by a private pilot, was substantially damaged when it nosed over during a crosswind landing on runway 35 (4,099' X 75' dry asphalt) at the Johnson County Executive Airport (OJC), Olathe, Kansas. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight was not operating on a flight plan. The pilot reported minor injuries. The flight departed Heber Springs, Arkansas, at 1112 cdt.

The pilot said he received the automatic terminal information service (ATIS) information at his destination airport. He said the control tower's ATIS winds were reported at 15 knots with gusts to 26 knots. The wind direction varied from 270 to 280 degrees. He said he was given clearance to land on runway 36. After receiving the landing clearance the pilot said he called the tower and "...informed them that winds were near [the] recommended maximum for my plane... ." He told the tower controller that he was prepared to divert to another airport on "...their advice... ." The pilot said he specified the New Century Airport because it had a runway 14-32. This airport was about 7 miles west of the Johnson County Executive Airport. According to the pilot, the controller told him the winds at New Century Airport "...were worse than at OJC... ."

The controller's written statement said, "After I advised the pilot of the winds at [New Century], he decided to continue for OJC." The controller said he announced the wind conditions in a "blind" transmission while N46311 was on short final. He said the pilot continued inbound for the landing.

The pilot said he continued his approach into Johnson County Airport and made a "...wing down crosswind approach recommended by Cessna." The pilot said the wind caused his airplane to "...drift despite the wing down slip... ." He said he began to flare for landing about 1,500 feet in from the runway's threshold. The pilot said the airplane touched down and was "...immediately pushed [to] the right by [a] gust... ." The airplane departed the right edge of the runway. According to the pilot, "[The] plane crossed [the] edge of 36 onto turf safeway downslope. On downslope [the] wind lifted tail of plane pushing nosewheel into soft ground... . On reaching the upslope the plane flipped over... ."

The pilot was asked why he did not divert to the Gardner Airport, about 13 miles west of the accident airport. He said he figured it was the same wind condition there as it was at the New Century Airport. Gardner Airport has 3 runways, one of which is 08-26. The Gardner Airport is about 4 miles southwest of the New Century Airport.

According to the Cessna 172K's Pilot Operating Handbook, "With average pilot technique, direct crosswinds of 15 MPH can be handled with safety." The reported winds at Johnson County were 19 knots gusting to 31 knots from 290 degrees. According to the FAA Crosswind Component Chart appended to this report, N46311 was landing with a 18-knot direct crosswind (22 MPH).

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