On May 26, 1999, at 1140 hours Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 150L, N1371Q, touched down off the runway and nosed over while landing at Paso Robles, California. The aircraft was sustained substantial damage; however, the certificated private pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. The aircraft was operated by the pilot/owner under 14 CFR Part 91 of Federal Aviation Regulations as a personal flight when the accident occurred. The local area flight originated from the Paso Robles Municipal Airport about 1100. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The pilot stated that he made a 45-degree entry to the downwind for an approach to runway 19. He also began his descent from 3,000 feet msl down to the traffic pattern altitude of 1,800 feet msl. After reaching pattern altitude, he encountered turbulence and had difficulty maintaining a parallel flight path while on downwind. He reduced power and applied carburetor heat opposite the numbers and began his base leg. He said that his base turn and turn to final were not made with two distinct 90-degree legs, but rather resembled a continuous 180-degree turn.
On final the pilot applied 15 to 20 degrees of flaps and reported having "too much airspeed." At this point he was also "having trouble lining up with the runway" so he decided to go around. He added full throttle, closed the carburetor heat, and retracted the flaps. As he began the go-around, he was still unable to regain runway alignment. He concluded that without directional control there was no reason to continue the go-around and so decided to make a hard landing instead. He throttled back, added carburetor heat and flaps, and landed off the west side of the runway beyond the midfield point. During the landing roll the aircraft encountered a gully, nosed over, and came to rest on its back.
The pilot, who was retained in his seat by his seat and shoulder harness, was assisted out of the aircraft by a highway patrol officer.
A California Highway Patrol pilot, who was also inbound for landing at the time, stated that he first saw the aircraft while it was on a 1/2-mile final. At that time the aircraft appeared to be at the correct altitude and to be stabilized on the approach. He looked at the aircraft again as it reached midfield point over the runway. It was still about 50 feet agl and was now continuously rolling right and left. The aircraft then began a turn to right of about 90 degrees. As the aircraft's flight path became perpendicular to the runway, it suddenly touched down in a grassy area. After touchdown, the aircraft nosed over.
The airport manager showed Safety Board investigators a set of three marks in the short grassy stubble west of runway 19. The marks were dimensionally consistent with the tricycle gear on the accident aircraft. The marks were about 150 feet in length and crossed a ditch-like depression. Though perceptibly curving to the north, the marks were aligned along a magnetic bearing of 282 degrees.
The investigators examined the flight controls and found that the linkages were connected and there was no binding. The cables were routed around their associated pulleys and all pins and keepers were in place. When the control wheel was rotated left and right, there was a discernable lag in the associated movement of the ailerons.
It was noted that there was about 2 inches of slack in the aileron control cable when measured between pulleys that were located 15 inches apart.
The right wing tip had evidence of impact damage and appeared to be bent aft at the main spar root attachment. There was inward crushing visible at the rear root area of the right wing. Measurements of both wings' trailing edges were taken using the aircraft centerline as a reference. The left wing measured 15.75 inches from the inboard aft corner of the left flap to the centerline. The right wing measured 15.25 inches from the inboard aft corner of the flap to the same point on the centerline.
The pilot received his private pilot certificate on May 12, 1947, and had accrued a total flight time of 390 hours. He had last completed a biennial flight review on May 30, 1989. The pilot averaged about 1.3 flight hours per month since his last flight review.
The airborne witness reported that winds were variable at 4 knots when the accident occurred. Another single engine light aircraft, doing touch-and-go takeoffs and landings, was reported ahead of the accident aircraft in the traffic pattern and encountered no unusual atmospheric phenomena.