SEA97LA113
SEA97LA113

On May 18, 1997, approximately 1025 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 207, N7405, operated by West Isle Air Inc. of Anacortes, Washington, was substantially damaged when it landed approximately 50 feet short of the Stuart Island West private airstrip, located approximately 5 miles northwest of Roche Harbor, Washington. The commercial pilot, who was the aircraft's sole occupant, was not injured in the accident. Visual meteorological conditions existed and the flight was utilizing company flight following for the 14 CFR part 91 positioning flight, which originated at Friday Harbor, Washington, about ten minutes prior to the accident.

In a written statement, the pilot reported that he approached the airstrip from the east and maneuvered for a landing to the west. The pilot was aware of the right quartering tailwind that he would be landing with because this airstrip is a one-way in through a heavily forested valley with 800 to 1,200 foot ridges on either side. The pilot stated that he overflew the airstrip at 700 feet to check the field and wind conditions. The pilot stated that he turned onto a right downwind and applied 10 degrees of flaps. The pilot continued to slow the aircraft to 80 knots on the base leg and turned onto final approach to line-up with the airstrip. Full flaps were applied while on final approach. The pilot stated that as the flight continued to descend on final approach, the airspeed was decreased to 65 knots, when he noticed a slight "push" from above and behind the airplane. The pilot applied a little power and up-elevator. The pilot stated that about one second later, he felt the airplane descend toward the tall grass overrun by a "powerful, yet smooth down draft or wind shear." The pilot stated that he applied full power and up elevator, however, the aircraft continued to descend and struck the ground at about 60 knots, and 50 feet short of the airstrip. During the landing roll, the nose gear collapsed and the airplane nosed down. The right wing contacted the surface and the airplane spun around about 60 degrees to the right.

FAA information on the airstrip, obtained via computer from a commercial World Wide Web site, lists the Stuart Island West dirt airstrip as being oriented east/west and 1,560 feet long. The information also states that all landings at the airstrip must be made to the west.

Wind information obtained from the operator indicates that the wind was from 030 degrees at 12 knots.

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