On July 25, 1998, approximately 1500 mountain daylight time, a Piper PA-22-135, N1202C, was substantially damaged during landing at Rock Springs-Sweetwater County Airport, Rock Springs, Wyoming. The private pilot, the sole occupant aboard, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a VFR flight plan had been filed for the personal flight being conducted under Title 14 CFR Part 91. The flight originated at Brigham City, Utah, at 1345 mountain daylight time.

The accident was reported to FAA's Flight Standards Field Office by a Sweetwater County Sheriff's deputy. While on routine patrol, he noticed the unfamiliar and damaged airplane parked on the ramp. An airport mechanic, Phil Weber of M&N Aviation, examined the airplane and reported substantial damage had been incurred. An FAA inspector was dispatched from the Casper, Wyoming, Flight Standards Field Office. By the time he arrived at the airport, the airplane had been dismantled and trucked back to the pilot's home base in California.

An accident report was sent to the pilot on July 29. The pilot said he failed to report the accident because the way he interpreted Title 49 CFR Part 830.2, the airplane had sustained only minor damage. The pilot was asked to submit photos of the damaged airplane. On September 14, the pilot submitted several Polaroid photos depicting a bent propeller, a scraped wing tip, and the left landing gear strut and wheel pant after they had been removed from the airplane. The pilot was requested to submit photos of the entire airplane. He failed to comply.

On several occasions, the pilot was asked to submit a completed accident report. The report was finally received on October 2. In his report, the pilot said a gust of wind "caught [him and he] was unable to maintain directional control." The airplane ground looped, causing the left main landing gear to collapse. The left wing struck the ground, damaging the tip, and the propeller also sustained ground strike damage. In the weather section of the accident report, the pilot indicated the wind was calm.

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