SEA01LA092
SEA01LA092

On May 12, 2001, approximately 1301 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 172P, N62961, operated by Friendly Air Service of Eugene, Oregon, and being flown by a newly-certificated private pilot (who had received his private pilot certificate on May 4, 2001) on a 14 CFR 91 personal flight, was substantially damaged when it ran off runway 12 and struck trees during landing at the Grants Pass, Oregon, airport. The pilot and one passenger received minor injuries in the accident, and one passenger was uninjured. Visual meteorological conditions were reported at the Sexton Summit, Oregon, automated surface observation system (ASOS) (approximately 5 1/2 nautical miles north of the Grants Pass airport) at 1256, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight from Grants Pass.

The pilot reported:

...Grants Pass Unicom advised that the winds were 150 at 12, gusting to 15-20.
I entered a left downwind for Runway 12 and the wind sock appeared to
indicate 150. Figuring a 4 knot crosswind component I set up for a standard
landing to 20 degree flaps....There was immediate trouble holding the center
of the runway and it was apparent the gusts were in excess of 4 knot
crosswind. I cleaned the plane up and went around again setting up on a left
downwind for Runway 12 for a no flap landing. The wind sock still appeared to
be 150. I turned to base and final without incident and using right aileron and
slight left rudder was able to hold the runway center. The wind appeared to
have died down and my final was without incident, my last speed check was
[80 knots] but I had slowed slightly from that coming onto the runway. I believe
I was starting to [flare] but I don't recall if I was all the way into [the flare] when
the airplane was shoved from the right hard like being hit by a truck crossways
at an intersection. The left wing went down and I was being shoved left. I
leveled the wings and hit full power and full right rudder as the plane was still
going left. As the wings leveled I heard the stall horn and saw an indicated 60
KIAS. Runway 12 is on an incline to midfield and it was apparent within a
second or two that I...could not climb out due to the incline and speed loss
and had already lost my flair [sic]. I was heading for the trees and I didn't
want to go up, stall and come back down. I reached right to try and throttle
back to reduce speed prior to impact.

The airplane impacted and inverted, right side lower than the left side....

The pilot indicated on his accident report to the NTSB that no mechanical failure or malfunction was involved in the accident.

An FAA inspector assigned to the accident investigation, who responded to the accident scene and performed an on-scene investigation, reported that the left wing flap was found fully extended, the right wing flap and right wing had separated from the aircraft, the flap handle was at the full down (30 degrees) position, and "control integrity was intact." The FAA inspector's report also stated that the pilot had not demonstrated crosswind landings during his FAA private pilot practical test, due to lack of crosswind conditions. (NOTE: FAA Practical Test Standard S-8081-14, "Private Pilot Practical Test Standards for Airplane", provides that if a crosswind condition does not exist during the practical test, the applicant's knowledge of crosswind elements shall be evaluated through oral testing.)

According to the U.S. Government Airport/Facility Directory (A/FD), Grants Pass runway 12 is a 3,999-foot by 75-foot asphalt runway, which slopes up at 0.8% to the southeast. The A/FD indicates that the runway has trees as obstructions at both ends. The airport elevation is 1,126 feet above sea level.

At 1256, the Sexton Summit ASOS reported the following conditions: winds from 180 degrees true at 13 knots, gusting to 19 knots; wind direction variable between 140 degrees true and 200 degrees true; clear skies; and 10 miles visibility.

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