On May 20, 2006, about 1300 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna A185F, N5468E, ground looped during the landing rollout at Columbia, California, airport. The owner was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The private pilot and one passenger were not injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. The cross-country personal flight departed Brownsville, California, about 1100, with a planned destination of Columbia. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The pilot submitted a written report. He departed Brownsville for a scenic flight in his new airplane. His wife sat in the right seat. They decided to stop at Columbia for food and fuel. The pilot checked Columbia's Automated Weather Observation System (AWOS) twice before their arrival. The AWOS reported that the wind was 170 degrees at 4 knots. There was also a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) that runway 11/29 was closed. The pilot requested a traffic advisory prior to entering the traffic pattern, but received no reply. After listening to radio transmissions from other pilots at Columbia, he determined that runway 17 was the active runway. He entered the pattern at 45 degrees to the right downwind.
The pilot felt that the winds were calm and that no crosswind correction was required. He could not see the windsock on final approach, but he thought the feel of the airplane confirmed the weather report. He executed a three-point full stall landing. Almost immediately upon touchdown, the airplane's tail swung energetically to the left. He applied full left rudder to regain directional control, but the airplane did not respond. The airplane turned 90 degrees to the right, began skidding on the left main gear, and tilted to the left. The left wing and horizontal tail surfaces made contact with the runway, and the airplane came to rest after completing a 180-degree turn. The pilot secured the airplane and performed a precautionary emergency exit. After exiting the airplane, he noticed that the windsock indicated a 90-degree right crosswind at approximately 10 knots.
The pilot believed that more accurate and complete information about the wind condition would have prevented his accident.
The Airport/Facility Directory (A/FD) entry for Columbia Airport states, "varying wind direction and velocity may be encountered at midpoint of runway 17-35 due to terrain features and wind flow patterns."
The pilot stated that the airplane and engine had no mechanical failures or malfunctions during the flight.