LAX07CA169
LAX07CA169

On May 12, 2007, about 1600 mountain daylight time, a Cessna 172M, N5285H, collided with terrain at St. George Municipal Airport (SGU), St. George, Utah. The owner, Spanish Fork Flying Service, operated the airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The private pilot and two passengers were not injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. The cross-country personal flight departed Spanish Fork-Springville Airport (U77), Spanish Fork, Utah, about 1330. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed; no flight plan had been filed.

The pilot stated in a written report that he checked the Automated Weather Observation System (AWOS) as he approached St. George, and noted a direct crosswind of higher velocity than made him comfortable. He continued to circle north of the airport, until he observed the winds drop to 19 knots. He decided to enter the pattern for runway 16 and perform a go-around to "feel the winds." After a successful go-around, he elected to attempt a landing, "I set a little crab on final the second time around and executed a very smooth descent, flare and landing. Between five hundred feet and one thousand feet after touchdown, the airplane started to turn right, and I couldn't apply enough left rudder to stop it." The airplane departed the runway; the propeller struck a taxiway light, and the left wing tip made contact with the ground. The airplane came to rest 30 feet beyond the runway edge.

At 1555, the St. George AWOS reported winds of 250 degrees at 21 knots gusting to 27 knots.

The Pilot's Operating Handbook for a 1976 Cessna 172M states that in a crosswind landing, "Although the crab or combination method of drift correction may be used, the wing-low method gives best control"; "The maximum allowable crosswind velocity is dependent on pilot capability as well as aircraft limitations. With average pilot technique, direct crosswinds of 15 knots can be handled with safety."

The pilot stated that the airplane and engine had no mechanical failures or malfunctions during the flight.


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