On October 13, 2000, at 1055 Eastern Daylight Time, a Pitts S-1A, N800AS, was substantially damaged during an aborted landing on Runway 23 at the Pocono Mountains Municipal Airport (MPO), Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania. The certificated private pilot/owner sustained minor injuries. No flight plan was filed for the flight between Sullivan County International Airport (MSV), Monticello, New York, and MPO. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The pilot flew to MPO where he was scheduled to compete in an aerobatics competition. In a written statement, he said:
"On approach to MPO, called Unicom and was told [runway] 23 was active. Made this call about 8 miles out. Made second call about 4 miles east, and female voice said 23 was active.
"Made a perfectly normal down wind, base, and final on 23. As I touched down and had only taxied a short distance, still at landing speed, I felt a tremendous gust of wind push me to the left. It appeared I was heading for, and being pushed, to the extreme left edge so I decided to apply power and go around.
"I think the strong cross wind caught wing as I started to go around and that pushed the wing down. As the cross wind continued the force to the left, I felt the gear or wing tip hit something, probably a runway light, and it tumbled."
A witness observed the airplane landing. In a written statement, he said:
"I was watching Pitts, N800AS, landing. He was on the ground when he was hit with a big crosswind. It blew him off the left side of the runway. He was under full power and starting to get off the ground when he hit a landing light with the wing (lower). This may have broken the controls in the lower wing. It started to stall then went over and hit on the prop. Then it cart wheeled over two and a half times. It stopped on its upper wing."
A second witness was on the northeastern side of the airport ramp when he saw the airplane attempt to land. In a written statement, he said:
"The first time I noticed the accident aircraft was on short final. The next time I saw the aircraft was when it became visible from behind an RV parked in the grass back from runway 23. At that point the airplane started towards the left side of the runway. I heard a tire skidding at that point. The plane had hit a runway light, however I did not see that happen. The pilot then appeared to attempt a 'go-around'. I heard the engine go to 'full throttle'. The plane made a sharp right turn on the runway then become airborne at a very low airspeed. The nose of the plane at a high angle and the wings where still in a bank to the right. The left wing of the airplane stalled and dropped close to 90 degrees and the nose dropped to about 45 degrees. This is the attitude that the aircraft made first contact with the ground. The left wing hit first, followed shortly by the nose. The aircraft proceeded to 'cartwheel' in the air. The next time the plane hit the ground was tail first, then bounced one more time coming to rest upside down on the top wing in the grass on the south side of runway 23.'
"As a final note, I had landed at the same airport less than one hour before this mishap in a two seat Pitts Special S-2B. I was advised by MPO Unicom the active runway was 23. No wind information was given to me. I landed on runway 23 in a 90 degree crosswind with a bit of tailwind. I had to use all of my ability to maintain control of the plane during roll out due to the wind. After the accident, the airport changed the active runway to 31."
A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector and a Pitts service representative performed an on scene examination. According to the inspector, there were no mechanical deficiencies noted with the airframe or engine.
The airport was equipped with an automated surface observation system (ASOS), which could be accessed in flight by radio or on the ground via telephone. According to the pilot, he did not obtain the ASOS information prior to landing at MPO. While in the traffic pattern at MPO, the pilot stated the windsock indicated a quartering headwind of approximately 10 knots.
At 1056, MPO ASOS reported the winds were from 300 degrees at 11, gusting to 17 knots, and were variable between 260 and 330 degrees.
Runway 23 was 4,000-feet long and 100-feet wide.
Examination of an airport diagram revealed that a wind tee was located to the left side of Runway 23 at the arrival end of the runway. A windsock was located at the intersection of Runway 13/31 and 5/23.
The pilot reported a total of 1,158 flight hours, of which 283 hours were in make and model.