CHI02LA157
CHI02LA157

On June 8, 2002, at 1345 central daylight time (cdt), a Maule M-7-260C, piloted by an airline transport pilot sustained substantial damage during an in-flight collision with trees and terrain during an aborted landing from a grass field in Fishers, Indiana. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was operating under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 without a flight plan. The pilot and his single passenger reported no injuries. The flight originated from Boone County Airport, Lebanon, Indiana at 1330 cdt.

According to the pilot's written statement, he made one low approach over the grass field to identify any obstacles. He stated he then entered a downwind approach for the field. The pilot reported that on final approach he had full flaps and was flying at approximately 65 miles per hour to account for the gusts and turbulence. The pilot reported, "Touchdown took place at about 1/2 of the way down the 1000' long field with a short bounce that put me uncomfortably long. I executed a go around and was surprised by the very sluggish climb performance and the height of the trees at the end of the field. I felt like the full flaps were creating too much drag at the same time I realized that I was perilously close to the pine trees at about 50 feet high. I retracted the flaps to reduce drag at about the same time that the right wing tip caught the pine. The impact slowed the right wing and the aircraft spun to the right coming down in the field north of the trees."

The pilot stated, "In retrospect I realize that I had too much fuel 50 [gallons] versus my usual 25 [gallons] for this field and that the temperature and high humidity increased my ground speed due to the higher density altitude and drastically reduced my climb performance where my previous landings here [were] in the winter at much cooler temperatures. The turbulence and gusts caused me to add too much airspeed for a successful short field landing taking into account the power line."

A weather reporting station, located approximately 19 nautical miles (nm) southwest of the accident site, recorded the wind speed around the accident time as 6 knots with no gusts.

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