On November 2, 1997, at 0806 hours mountain standard time, a Cessna 172, N6585D, collided with trees following a loss of control while landing at the Payson, Arizona, airport. The aircraft sustained substantial damage. The private pilot and his two passengers were not injured. The aircraft was being operated as a personal flight under 14 CFR Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed. The flight originated in Scottsdale, Arizona, at 0720.

The pilot stated that he had turned final for runway 24 at Payson when he noticed he was a "little high and hot." He said he compensated for it by lowering the nose and adding 5 additional degrees of flaps. Although the airspeed remained constant at 80 knots, he realized quickly that he was still high and fast so he entered a slip to increase the rate of descent. The pilot stated that he felt he could extend his landing even if he touched down past midpoint and decided not to go-around. He estimated that he hit the ground at 58 to 60 knots when he encountered a strong crosswind from the left, which pushed him off the runway. The aircraft subsequently came to rest against several trees.

A Federal Aviation Administration inspector from the Scottsdale, Arizona, Flight Standards District Office interviewed the airport manager after the accident. The manager stated that he had heard the airplane touch down and "it sounded very fast" so he looked up and saw the airplane rolling down the runway at a very fast rate of speed. The aircraft then departed the runway and collided with trees.

The inspector examined the runway and found several skid marks about 800 feet after the touchdown point.

In his written statement, the pilot reported the winds at the airport as 110 degrees at 5 knots. The winds at the closest aviation weather reporting station were 160 degrees at 7 knots.

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