ATL97LA089
ATL97LA089

On June 22, 1997, at 1500 central daylight time, a Cessna 175, N6844E, collided with a ditch while on landing roll-out at Buchanan Stolport Airstrip, Panama City Beach, Florida. The banner towing airplane was operated by Aerial Ads, Inc. under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91 and visual flight rules. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The airplane was substantially damaged. The commercial pilot was not injured. There was no flight plan for this local flight which departed at 1435.

The pilot decided to take-off from the grass strip, without checking the weather, after hearing from other pilots that the weather was "good enough to fly". The pilot picked up a banner, and flew to Panama City Beach, about 10 miles to the east of the departure airstrip. There were reports over the radio that there were thunderstorms in the area, so all the banner towing airplanes, including N6844E, decided to return to their departure fields. Buchanan Stolport was a grass strip approximately 1000 feet long. It was wet because light showers had passed through the area since the pilot's departure. After waiting for the shower to pass, the pilot overflew the field and dropped his banner. When he circled and attempted to make a normal landing on the wet grass, he was unable to slow the airplane down and went off the end of the runway into a ditch. The nose wheel collapsed, and the firewall was damaged. There was also structural damage to the right horizontal stabilizer.

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