LAX02LA140
LAX02LA140

On April 19, 2002, at 1140 mountain standard time, a Cessna T206H, N377ME, sustained substantial fuselage structural damage after porpoising following a bounced landing at the Sedona, Arizona, airport. The aircraft was owned and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. Neither the private pilot nor the three passengers on board were injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal cross-country flight that originated at Camarillo, California, at 0900. The airplane was landing on runway 21, and the official automated surface observation system (ASOS) at the time of the accident included winds from 170 degrees at 19 knots with higher gusts to 26 knots.

In a written statement, the pilot reported that the flight was smooth until about 15 minutes from landing at Sedona when turbulence was encountered. Nearing the airport, he obtained the surface weather from the ASOS recording and noted that the winds were given as from 170 degrees at 10 knots gusting to 21 variable to 190 degrees at 12 knots with higher gusts to 23. The pilot selected runway 21 and said that during the approach, "a change in airspeed of 15 knots was observable." He noted that he reduced power after touchdown and a gust of wind "lifted the aircraft off the runway and I started porpoising and hit the tail on the runway."

The accident sequence was witnessed by the owner of a fixed-base operator (FBO) on the airport. He reported that the pilot was trying to land on runway 21 with a strong quartering headwind that had a significant gust component. The witness said that runway 21 has about a 2 percent downslope. He saw the airplane bounce off the main gear and begin a series of porpoise like pilot induced oscillations where the airplane bounced from the nose wheel to the main gear and back again, with an increasing amplitude. On the fourth porpoise, the airplane's tail struck the runway.

The airport manager examined the airplane and reported that the skin was wrinkled in the area of the firewall, and that a compression buckle extended circumferentially around the fuselage at a point 3 feet forward of the horizontal stabilizer leading edge.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration airman record files, an original issuance private pilot certificate was issued to the pilot on February 27, 2002.

In his written statement, the pilot said there were no mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane prior to the accident.

According to the limitations section of the Cessna T206H Pilot Operating Handbook, the airplane's maximum demonstrated crosswind capability is 15 knots. In a telephone conversation with engineering personnel from Cessna, they reported that the 15-knot crosswind capability is not a limitation, it is only the maximum crosswind component that the aircraft was landed in during certification flight testing.

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