On February 14, 2004, about 1338 eastern standard time, a wheel-equipped Piper PA-18-160 airplane, N226P, sustained substantial damage during a loss of control and subsequent ground loop during landing at the Naples Airport, Naples, Florida. The airplane was being operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) cross-country personal flight under Title 14, CFR Part 91, when the accident occurred. The private certificated pilot, and the one passenger, were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The flight originated at the Marathon Airport, Marathon, Florida, about 1215. No flight plan was filed, nor was one required.

During a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC), on February 17, 2004, the pilot reported that he was landing on runway 23, which required a correction for a strong left crosswind. The pilot stated that at touchdown, a strong gust of wind lifted the left wing, and the airplane subsequently ground looped to the right. During the ground loop, the right wing and right aileron struck the surface of the runway and sustained structural damage.

At 1338, an Aviation Routine Weather Report (METAR) for the Naples Airport was reporting, in part: wind, 180 degrees (true) at 15 knots, peak gusts 22 knots; visibility, 10 statute miles; clouds and sky condition, few at 1,500 feet; temperature, 81 degrees F; dew point, 70 degrees F; altimeter, 29.95 inHg.

The pilot noted that there were no preaccident mechanical anomalies with the airplane.

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