LAX02LA070
LAX02LA070

On January 26, 2002, about 0930 mountain standard time, a Cessna 172M, N5264R, veered off the runway and nosed over during landing at the Payson Airport, Payson, Arizona. The airplane, operated by AZ Cloud Busters Flying Club and rented by the pilot under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91, sustained substantial damage. The private pilot and two passengers were not injured; a third passenger received serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the cross-country flight that departed the Stellar Airpark Airport, Chandler, Arizona, about 0845.

An automated weather observation system (AWOS) at the airport reported weather at the time of the accident as winds variable from 060 degrees to 140 degrees at 5-6 knots, gusting to 7 knots.

In the pilot's written statement to the Safety Board, he stated that the approach was normal. The wind was calm. His approach speed was 60 knots, with 30 degrees of flaps selected. During the flare for touchdown, a "sudden" gust of wind from the south pushed the airplane off runway alignment by 5-10 feet. The pilot initiated a go-around, which included advancing the throttle to full power, and placing the carburetor heat control in the cold position. He stated that he also raised the flaps. He lowered the nose to a level flight attitude to gain airspeed and noted a slight increase in airspeed, but not enough to gain altitude. The pilot estimated that they were in the air about 10-15 seconds before the airplane contacted the runway.

The Safety Board Investigator-in-Charge (IIC) interviewed the pilot. The pilot stated that he made a 45-degree entry for runway 24. The weather was clear and the winds were calm. The airplane veered off the runway, and the nose landing gear was sheared off. The airplane came to rest inverted after the nose landing gear strut dug into the ground. The pilot stated that there were no mechanical discrepancies noted with the airplane.

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