ATL04CA163
ATL04CA163

On July 29, 2004, at 1930 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172, N3967F, registered to and operated by a private pilot, collided with the ground while attempting a go-around at a private grass airstrip at Windridge, a private fly-in community, in Inman, South Carolina. The personal flight operated under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91 and visual flight rules. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and no flight plan was filed. The airplane was substantially damaged. The pilot and passenger suffered minor injuries. The flight originated from the private grass airstrip at Windridge community in Inman, South Carolina, on July 29, 2004, at 1925.

According to the pilot, he took two passengers, one at a time, on a scenic flight over the area. The pilot stated that the surface winds were light and variable from 360 degrees to 030 degrees. The pilot stated that after the first landing, he noticed that "there was slightly more shifting of wind direction." The pilot stated that after departing on the second flight, he noticed some unfavorable weather moving in, and elected to fly the traffic pattern once and land on runway 36. The pilot stated that, while on final approach to land, the airplane cleared power lines that extend across the approach end of the runway 36. The airplane touched down approximately 950 feet down the 2000-foot long sod runway. From 800 feet down the runway to the departure end, the runway slopes downward approximately 100 feet. The pilot stated that the airplane's braking was ineffective on the wet grass and because he was unable to stop the airplane, he applied power and attempted to takeoff. The pilot stated that the airplane became airborne, but approximately 25 feet above ground level (agl), he realized the airplane would not clear trees at the end of the runway. He stated that as he attempted to bank the airplane right toward the runway the right wing tip collided with the ground. The airplane came to rest approximately 30 feet left of the departure end of runway 36.

The pilot did not report any mechanical problems with the airplane prior to the accident. Post-accident examination of the airplane revealed the nose wheel and strut separated from the airplane. There was also damage to the right wing tip, right wing aileron, left horizontal stabilizer, side of engine and the propeller was bent.

The Windridge community private airstrip has a sod/grass runway surface, 18/36, and is 2000 feet long and 60 feet wide. Approximately 400-800 feet down the runway from the approach end of runway 36, the level portion of the runway has a field elevation of 940 feet above mean sea level (msl). The departure end of runway 36 has a field elevation of 840 feet msl. The pilot reported that at the time of the attempted landing, the condition of the runway surface was "soaking wet." Thunderstorm activity had been reported in the area earlier that day.

The pilot stated that he could have prevented this accident if he had, "attempted to land downwind...where there is a chance for a go around...or gone to Sloan's airstrip only four and a half miles to the northwest for a landing."

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