On May 20, 2010, at 1605 Pacific daylight time, an experimental Wildman RV6-A, N578RJ, collided with three parked airplanes while landing at the Columbia Airport, Columbia, California. The pilot operated the airplane under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. The private pilot seated in the left seat received serious injuries, and the commercial pilot/owner seated in the right seat was not injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight that departed from Gustine Airport, Gustine, California, about 1520. No flight plan had been filed.

According to the pilot in the right seat, his wife was flying and in the left seat. They listened to the airport’s automated weather observing system (AWOS) prior to landing; and were compensating for the gusty 90-degree crosswind. Just before touchdown, the pilot reported that the airplane suddenly lost altitude and the left wing and landing gear impacted the ground. Subsequently, the airplane became “uncontrollable and bounced,” veering to the left. The airplane bounced a second time before impacting and coming to rest against three unoccupied, parked airplanes.

Post accident examination of the airframe by a certificated airframe and powerplant (A&P) mechanic revealed major damage to the right wing. Control continuity was established between all components and connecting hardware to the elevator and rudder. The aileron control system and all of its components, linkages, and hardware were operational, with the exception of the left aileron’s outboard hinge, which was sheered off of the bolt head and shank. The flap actuator was in the full down position. The left flap contained minor damage and was in the full down position. The right flap sustained major damage and the control arm was broken off of the torque tube.

The AWOS located at the accident airport reported at the time of the accident, wind was from 250 degrees at 7 knots gusting to 14 knots; sky clear; visibility greater than 10 miles; temperature 20 degrees Celsius; and dew point 7 degrees Celsius.

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