LAX00LA053
LAX00LA053

On December 18, 1999, at 1130 hours Pacific standard time, a Cessna 172A, N34261, veered off the runway and collided with a bush while landing on runway 33 at the Shoshone, California, airport. The airplane, which was operated by the pilot and owned by a family member, sustained substantial damage. The private pilot and his passenger were not injured. The airplane was operated under 14 CFR Part 91 as a personal flight when the accident occurred. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated at Mojave, California, at 1030.

The pilot told investigators that he got caught "in one of those microbursts" and lost control of the airplane. He also stated that there was nothing mechanically wrong with the airplane. The pilot said that he overflew the runway to determine the wind direction and that the windsock was "in tatters," but that the winds were right down runway 33. The pilot said that it was hard to determine the wind volume because the ends of the windsock were torn. He said he set up to do a short field landing and put in 40 degrees of flaps, and as he flared, a microburst raised the right wing and he thought the airplane was going to become inverted. He put in rudder and aileron and added power to try and takeoff. He said the airplane went off the runway and the right wing hit a bush, followed by the left wing, and finally the nose hitting the ground. He estimated the winds were 10-15 knots.

An aircraft retriever who responded to the scene the next morning to recover the airplane stated that the winds were "incredibly strong" with gusts estimated to be approximately 60 mph. He stated that the winds would blow, then die down and begin to blow again. He estimated that the winds were pretty much right down the runway.

An off-duty Inyo County Sheriff's officer was driving home when he noticed the airplane with its tail up in the air and off of the runway. The officer said he spoke with the pilot, who said he was landing with full flaps when a gust of wind hit the right wing, blowing them off the runway before the airplane had touched down. He also told the officer that he told his passenger to raise the flaps while he powered up the engine. In his written statement, the sheriff's officer stated that the airplane landed about 100 feet up the runway and about 100 feet to the west of the pavement. When he arrived on scene, he observed that the "wind was very strong and the wind sock was horizontal" to the ground.

The airplane was released to the registered owner on March 2, 2000.

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