IAD03LA009
IAD03LA009

On October 22, 2002, at 1252 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 185, N7321H, was substantially damaged during a landing at Waterville-Robert LaFleur Airport (WVL), Waterville, Maine. The certificated commercial pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to the pilot, the purpose of the flight was to check out a newly-installed Global Positioning Receiver (GPS) in his airplane. He remained within 5 miles of the airport, then returned to fly the GPS RWY 5 approach at Waterville. Other airplanes were using runway 05 during his approach, and the Automated Weather Observation Service (AWOS) reported winds from about 340 degrees, at 7 to 10 miles per hour.

After landing, a gust of wind caught the tail of the airplane from the left. The pilot attempted to regain directional control but was unable, which resulted in wing/ground contact and a nose over.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, the pilot reported that he may have applied too much brake and lost directional control during the landing.

The airplane was a 1977 Cessna 185, with 2,078 airframe hours. According to the FAA inspector, there were no mechanical anomalies with the airplane. When asked about the performance of the airplane, the pilot said that it appeared to be performing normally.

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land, single engine sea, and instrument airplane. He also held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane multi-engine land. The pilot's most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued on May 15, 2002. He reported 1,600 hours of flight experience, 50 hours of which were in make and model.

The pilot previously owned a tail-wheeled Cessna 180, and had about 800 hours of flight experience in that airplane. He felt that the Cessna 185 had more engine power and torque, and was heavier than the Cessna 180. It was also heavier and less responsive to full control deflection.

At 1255, the weather reported at Waterville Airport included winds from 280 degrees at 6, gusting to 15 knots.

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