CHI01LA261
CHI01LA261

On July 26, 2001, at 1945 eastern daylight time, a McIntosh Steen Skybolt, N2261N, nosed over after colliding with a soybean crop on the left side of runway 36 (private, 2,600 feet by 60 feet, grass), at the Lehrman Airfield, Lebanon, Indiana. The pilot was not injured and the airplane was substantially damaged. The 14 CFR Part 91 local flight was operating in visual meteorological conditions without a flight plan. The flight originated from the Lehrman Airfield at about 1900.

The pilot reported that he was flying the airplane from the rear seat which limited his forward visibility of the runway so he used the following landing technique: "Make an early turn from base to final and follow a flight path that lies at an angle of 10 to 20 degrees to the runway heading until the aircraft passes over the runway edge at minimal altitude, align the aircraft with the runway heading using rudder only and promptly flare."

The pilot reported that he "...misjudged his altitude and/or rate of descent and the aircraft failed to clear the soybeans growing along the left edge of the runway." He reported the left main gear contacted the soybeans and the airplane turned to an approximate 360 degree heading. The pilot applied full power in an attempt to gain altitude but "...the drag on the left wing in contact with the tops of the soybean plants prevented the building of airspeed." The pilot then reduced the throttle and the airplane settled into the soybeans and came to rest inverted.

The pilot reported that he "...attributes the cause of this accident to his error in either selecting the wrong technique for final approach, or failing to maintain proper glide path to clear the crop growing at the runway edge. It is possible that the low angle of the sun and the resultant long shadow cast by the soybeans on to the runway contributed to the pilot's misjudgment of the height of the crop."

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