On July 9, 1997, at 1240 hours Pacific daylight time, a Grumman American AA-5B, N28299, veered off the runway, collided with an airport perimeter fence, and came to rest in a lake during an aborted landing attempt at Spaulding Airport, Susanville, California. The aircraft was operated by the pilot for the personal cross-country flight. The aircraft was substantially damaged, and the certificated private pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. The flight originated from the Nervino airport, Beckwourth, California, earlier that same day, and visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
According to the pilot's written statement he flew over the airport at 7,000 feet msl and "checked [the] wind, which favored Rwy 16 . . . there was a little ripple on the water but no waves or white caps." He further noted that the wind was "probably 170-180 degrees at 6-7" knots and the "wind sock [was] about 1/2 way out." The landing approach was normal. During the landing flare, a gust of wind caused the right wing to rise unexpectedly to approximately a 45-degree angle, almost forcing the left wing on to the runway surface. The pilot reported that he attempted to go-around, however, the wind was blowing the aircraft to the left and the aircraft was "behind the power curve." The pilot also stated that "I think I touched [down] but am not sure." The aircraft ultimately crashed through a barbed wire fence before coming to rest in Eagle Lake.
Rescue personnel reported that near the time the accident occurred, the winds were "kicking from the west" with short gusts of approximately 20 to 30 mph. Additionally, they noted that in the general area of the accident, "gusts come out of nowhere on a moments notice."
The rescue personnel reported that the temperature was between 85 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit at the time the accident occurred. Based on that temperature and the airport elevation, the density altitude was computed to be 8,000 feet msl.