On February 18, 2002, at 1446 eastern standard time, a Cessna 172P, N66986, piloted by a private pilot, was substantially damaged while landing on runway 27 (4,700 feet by 100 feet, dry/asphalt) at the Dowagiac Municipal Airport (C91), Dowagiac, Michigan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The flight was operating under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 and was on a visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan. The pilot reported minor injuries. The flight departed from Griffing Sandusky Airport, Sandusky, Ohio, at 1145.

According to the pilot's written statement, while over-flying the airport he noticed that the windsock and wind tetrahedron were indicating a wind from the south. The pilot stated he attempted two approaches to runway 27. The pilot reported, "On my first approach I started to feel a little behind the airplane." The pilot stated, "At the short final position I made the decision to break off the approach and go around." The pilot reported that during the go-around he thought about diverting to South Bend, Indiana, or Kalamazoo, Michigan, due to the crosswind condition on runway 27 at C91. The pilot stated he elected to attempt another approach to runway 27. During the second landing attempt, during landing rollout, the airplane departed the right side of the prepared runway surface, entered a soft agricultural field, and nosed over. The pilot reported that after touchdown the airplane began to track to the right and he, "again checked to see if I had full left aileron I did by this time I had gone off the runway onto a grass shoulder."

The pilot reported he should have diverted, "to an airport that had a runway that was better [aligned] with the wind."

C91 has a second runway, runway 04/22 (2,200 feet by 100 feet, turf). The flight school that operated the accident airplane prohibits takeoffs or landings on non-hard surfaced runways, except in emergency situations.

At 1453 a weather observation station, located at the Southwest Michigan Regional Airport, Benton Harbor, Michigan, reported the wind direction and velocity to be 180 degrees magnetic at 14 knots with gusts to 20 knots.

The Cessna 172P Information Manual addresses crosswind landings and states in part, "After touchdown, hold a straight course with the steerable nose wheel and occasional braking if necessary." The Information Manual further states, "The maximum allowable crosswind velocity is dependent upon pilot capability as well as aircraft limitations. Operation in direct crosswinds of 15 knots has been demonstrated."

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