On September 17, 1998, about 1400 hours Pacific daylight time, a Mooney M20C, N9438V, sustained substantial wing and fuselage damage while landing in crosswind conditions at the Reno-Taho International Airport, Reno, Nevada. The aircraft was owned and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91, and was on a cross-country personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and included winds at 18 knots with gusts to 26 knots. The pilot and two passengers were not injured. The flight originated at the Fullerton, California, airport about 1200 on the day of the accident with an intended destination of Reno.

The pilot did not report the accident to either the Safety Board or the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). An FBO on the Reno airport reported to the Reno Flight Standards District Office that the aircraft had sustained significant damage in the accident and had been flown to Fullerton for repair. The damaged airplane was examined by FAA inspectors from the Long Beach, California, Flight Standards District Office at a repair facility on the Fullerton airport. The damage consisted of a deformed and bent left wing, with spar wrinkles and tears, and, damage to the empennage near the bottom of the rudder.

FAA inspectors interviewed the pilot-rated passenger who occupied the right front seat. He said that the pilot experienced difficulty controlling the airplane on short final approach in the prevailing crosswind condition. The pilot reportedly asked the passenger for help and by the time he was able to get on the controls, the left wing had contacted the ground.

The passenger further reported to FAA inspectors that following the accident, a loaner propeller was obtained and some sheet metal straps were installed on the damaged wing. The passenger and a mechanic from Fullerton then flew the aircraft back to Fullerton. A ferry permit was not obtained.

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