LAX97LA166
LAX97LA166

On April 24, 1997, at 1030 hours mountain standard time, a Cessna 172N, N733PM, veered off of runway 22L at the Chandler, Arizona, airport and collided with runway lights during a landing attempt. The aircraft was operated by Sunbird Flight Services of Chandler and was rented by the pilot for a local area personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed. The aircraft sustained substantial damage during the accident sequence. The certificated private pilot and the pilot rated passenger were not injured. The flight originated at the Chandler airport on the morning of the accident at 0930.

In a verbal statement taken shortly after the accident and reiterated later in a written statement, the pilot reported that he was cleared to land on runway 22L. During the landing rollout he lost directional control due to a wind gust and veered towards the right side of the runway. He attempted to regain directional control by using full left rudder; however, the left wing was lifted by the wind gust and the right wing contacted runway lights, then contacted the runway itself. As the right wing rebounded from the runway surface, the left wing was driven down and contacted the runway surface as well. The pilot then attempted to abort the landing and go around. The pilot noted that the aircraft briefly became airborne, stalled and "impacted the runway . . . [as a result, the aircraft] departed the runway causing the nose gear to collapse. . ."

A special weather observation taken just after the accident, reported that the surface winds were from 260 degrees at 15 knots with gusts to 25 knots. Immediately before the accident, the winds were reported as being from 280 degrees at 18 knots with gusts to 25 knots. Throughout the period, the winds were noted as being variable from 230 to 290 degrees. The table below lists the computed crosswind components for the reported wind directions and velocities.

Wind Direction Wind Velocity Crosswind Component 280 25 22 280 18 16 260 25 16 260 15 10

According to Cessna Aircraft, the maximum demonstrated crosswind capability of the 1977 Cessna 172N is 15 knots. The 1977 "N" model Cessna 172 Pilot's Operating Handbook contains no information regarding not-to-exceed crosswind velocities during landing or taxing operations. According to the manufacturer's demonstrated crosswind component information, at the time the accident occurred, the wind exceeded the aircraft's demonstrated crosswind capability by as much as 7 knots, or 46 percent.

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