On June 24, 2005, at 1430 eastern daylight time, a Porterfield CP-65, N37709, was substantially damaged when it departed the left side of the runway after landing at Jaffrey Airport (AFN), Jaffrey, New Hampshire. The certificated student pilot received minor injures. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the solo instructional flight that departed the Fitchburg Municipal Airport (FIT), Fitchburg, Massachusetts, about 1400. No flight plan was filed for the flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The student provided both a written statement and a telephone interview. He explained that the purpose of the flight was to practice for a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) private pilot practical examination that he had scheduled.
The pilot monitored the Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS) as he approached the Jaffrey Airport, and entered the downwind leg of the traffic pattern to land on Runway 16. After viewing the windsock, he amended his decision, and decided to land on runway 34 instead.
The pilot estimated that there was a direct crosswind of between 10 and 15 knots, as he performed a "wheel landing" in the tailwheel-configured airplane. The main gear touched down at 65 knots, and the tailwheel was lowered to the runway at 45 knots. At that time, the airplane was "hit by a gust that spun [the airplane] around like a toy."
The pilot straightened the airplane as it departed the left edge of the runway, where the grade dropped immediately down an embankment. The airplane struck terrain at the bottom of the embankment, nosed over, and came to rest inverted.
The pilot stated that he frequently landed to runways that experienced significant crosswinds, because he looked forward to the challenge, and because he "didn't want to be one of those pilots that only flies when the weather is perfect."
The pilot was issued an FAA second-class medical certificate on September 9, 2004. He reported 102 total hours of flight experience, 63 hours of which were in make and model.
The pilot reported no mechanical deficiencies with the airplane. When asked how the accident might have been avoided, the pilot responded, "I will avoid airports that are not on level ground from now on unless the winds are very light."
At 1452, the weather reported at Jaffrey Airport included winds from 220 degrees at 11 knots, gusting to 16 knots.