On July 13, 2002, approximately 1530 mountain daylight time, an Aero Commander Callair A-9B single-engine airplane, N7791V, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain following an encounter with a dust devil during landing at the West Texas Airport near El Paso, Texas. The airplane was registered to and operated by the El Paso Soaring Society of El Paso. The airline transport pilot, sole occupant of the airplane, sustained serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 glider tow flight. The local flight originated from the West Texas Airport, approximately 1510. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The pilot reported that while attempting to land on runway 8, he saw a dust devil approximately 50 to 100 feet directly in front of him over the runway. Due to heavy rain, which had passed through the area, the dust devils were not picking up sand as usual. All he saw was a couple of sheets of flying paper. Being too low to turn, he applied full power and attempted to fly through the dust devil. When the airplane pitched up and went into a left climbing turn due to the cyclonic effect, he applied full right aileron and rudder in an attempt to control the airplane.
Witnesses observed the airplane pitch up and make a 270 degree left turn. The airplane became inverted and impacted the ground on its nose, bounced, and came to rest 150 feet north of the runway on its main landing gear facing south.
Examination of the airplane by the FAA inspector, who responded to the accident site, revealed that both wings were structurally damaged, and the engine was displaced into the firewall.