On May 24, 1999, at 1330 central daylight time. a Piper PA-28-161, operated by Western Aire Flying Club, received substantial damage on impact with terrain during an aborted landing on runway 04 (3,601 feet by 60 feet, dry asphalt) at Iowa County Airport (MRJ), Mineral Point, Wisconsin. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight was not operating on a flight plan. The private pilot sustained minor injuries. The flight departed Goshen, Indiana, at 1110, en route to MRJ.

The pilot stated that he had entered a left base for runway 04 at MRJ and touched down at the runway threshold with the aircraft's flaps fully extended. He described the aircraft's attitude during its landing as having its left wing low with application of the right rudder. He further added that the wind gusted and raised the aircraft's left wing which was then followed by the aircraft exiting the right side of the runway. The pilot stated that he added power to attempt an aborted landing.

In a written statement, the pilot reported the following: "I left Mt. Vernon 4I3 Ohio - I flew to GSH (Goshen, IN) refueled and left for MRJ to meet with my dad and uncle for supper. The landing was set up well, a gust nearly tipped me over causing damage to the R [right] wing (I was unaware of hitting a runway light). I put in the power to do a go-around and [the] plane settled into a field [approximately] 200 yards east of the runway.

The pilot reported that he has accumulated 1,500 hours of flight time; of which, 200 hours were in PA-28-161 aircraft. He also reported that he received a biennial flight review in a Cessna 175 on February 7, 1999.

The airport manager stated that, at the time of the accident, the automatic weather observing system (AWOS) reported winds 25 knots gusting to 28-30 knots and a wind direction of 300-310 degrees. Upon touchdown the left wing of the accident aircraft appeared to lift the left wing and the aircraft veered to the right and struck a runway light with the right wing. The manager added, "Pilot attempted a go around at this point but could not gain much altitude, plane veered to the east and went down in an open field".

The maximum demonstrated crosswind component for the PA-28-161 is 17 knots.

A runway light located approximately 1,400 feet down the runway was damaged. The aircraft was located approximately 1/2 mile east of runway 04 on a magnetic heading of 310 degrees.

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