On March 22, 1998, about 1050 Eastern Standard Time, a Cessna 172M, N80512, was substantially damaged during landing at the Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport (SHD) near Weyers Cave, Virginia. The certificated private pilot and his passenger received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed for the local flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
According to the pilot, flight conditions were gusty, with winds from the northwest. Shortly after takeoff from Runway 23, the passenger felt uncomfortable, so the pilot elected to remain in the airport pattern for a full stop landing. The pilot stated that he had to apply right crosswind corrections on final, and that he was having trouble selecting desired flap settings due to differences in flap switch operation between this airplane and the one he normally flew. After a 90-95 mph approach, the airplane touched down "fast", first on the right main wheel, and then on the others. The aircraft then "bunny hopped" off the left side of the runway, went up a small hill, hit a fence and flipped over. The pilot felt that he had landed too fast, was unable to compensate for crosswind conditions, and should have gone around for another landing attempt.
The local Automatic Weather Observation System (AWOS) recorded winds from 310 degrees at 6 knots with no wind gusts at the approximate time of the accident. Earlier that day, until approximately 30 minutes prior to takeoff, and later that day, commencing about 10 minutes after the landing, the AWOS was continuously recording wind gusts of 17 to 22 knots.
According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspector who examined the wreckage, the airplane touched down just prior to the Runway 23 "3,000 feet remaining" marker. It then veered off the left side, traveled approximately 300 feet up a 4 foot embankment, and started down a 60 degree slope when it hit an electric deer fence.
In the Inspector's written report, he stated:
"...the propeller cut through the electrical fence leaving three separate cuts along the leading edge of one blade. The other blade is bent forward indicating power when it struck the ground. Approximately 18 inches out from the fuselage the right wing is buckled and both wing tips are crushed. The flaps were found extended to 10 degrees. The empennage has slight buckling in various areas from the rear of the cabin to the horizontal stabilizer. The left horizontal stabilizer is damaged from sticking a fence post eight inches out from the empennage covering an eight inch area with a depth of four inches. The vertical stabilizer tip cap and rudder are crushed three inches. No airworthiness issues were identified as a factor in the accident."
The pilot was certificated as a private pilot on March 4, 1998. He had accumulated approximately 53 total flight hours, all in make and model.