On April 4, 2000, a Cessna A185F, N78DE, was substantially damaged when it collided with a tree and subsequently impacted terrain during an aborted landing attempt at a private airstrip near Wallowa, Oregon. The private pilot-in-command of the aircraft, who owned the aircraft and the airstrip, was not injured in the accident. A passenger aboard the aircraft was also uninjured. Visual meteorological conditions were reported in the accident area, and no flight plan had been filed for the 14 CFR 91 personal flight from a private airstrip near McDermitt, Nevada.

The pilot reported that his airstrip, which is 1,800 feet long and 40 feet wide, runs in a generally east-west direction, with trees and elevated terrain adjacent to the north and south sides. The pilot reported that upon arrival on the accident flight, the wind sock at the airstrip indicated westerly winds at an estimated 20 to 25 knots. He stated that on final approach, which he flew with full flaps, "there did not appear to be any cross wind component and the aircraft was stabilized." The pilot stated:

At approximately 10 feet AGL [above ground level], with a touchdown IAS [indicated airspeed] of approximately 60 knots, a wind gust lifted the aircraft and moved it to the north side of the runway. I immediately banked left and applied approximately 1/3 full power to lift the right wing in order to avoid striking my hanger [sic] which sets on the northeast side of the airstrip. Once clear, I immediately added full power to abort the landing and go around.

However, the combination of left bank, wind and resulting yaw effect from full power, did not provide me with adequate time or distance to avoid striking the upper one-third section of a pine tree on the south side of the airstrip. My right wing leading edge struck the pine tree at approximately 75 feet AGL and the aircraft nosed over into terrain.

The pilot's attorney stated that the pilot had reported to him that he was "first certificated in approximately 1976 and stopped flying in 1988." The pilot's attorney stated that the pilot's logbook documenting his pilot time through 1998, which he stated contained the pilot's high performance and tailwheel endorsements, had been misplaced, but that the pilot's total time through 1998 was 422 hours. The pilot's attorney reported that the pilot resumed flying in October 1998, and purchased the accident aircraft on or about February 18, 2000. The pilot's total flight time was reported as 499 hours including 15 hours in make and model (all of which were within the 90 days preceding the accident.) The pilot furnished logbook evidence with his NTSB accident report that he had undergone a checkout in the Cessna 185 by a flight instructor on February 18, 2000. Neither the pilot nor his attorney furnished any evidence of a current flight review signoff (per 14 CFR 61.56), and the pilot's NTSB accident report gave the date of his last flight review as "Unknown." FAA records indicate that the pilot's private certificate was issued on September 29, 1997, and that his last FAA medical examination prior to the accident was on September 8, 1997. The pilot was 61 years old at the time of the accident.

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