WPR11LA175
WPR11LA175

On March 21, 2011, at 1322 mountain daylight time, a Cessna 172N, N739DG, sustained substantial damage when it collided with terrain during landing on runway 12 at Spanish Fork Airport, Spanish Fork, Utah. The student pilot, the sole occupant, was seriously injured. The airplane was operated by Amehigh LLC under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local solo training flight, which had originated approximately 20 minutes before the accident. A flight plan had not been filed.

The pilot reported that he was practicing for his private pilot check ride, which was scheduled to take place on March 25, 2011. After he performed a preflight inspection of the airplane, he delayed his departure because of reported high wind conditions at Provo, Utah, 5 nautical miles (nm) away, where he was planning to practice landings. He waited about an hour, and the wind speeds at Provo continued to increase. The pilot noted that at Spanish Fork the wind was down the runway. He decided to depart for some local practice takeoffs and landings.

During his first landing on runway 12, the airplane bounced and encountered a “microburst or intense wind.” The pilot lost control of the airplane, and it departed the left side of the runway. The airplane cartwheeled several times and impacted an airport perimeter fence. Both wings and the empennage were wrinkled and bent, and the engine separated from its mounts.

The wind reported at 1250 at Provo, located 5 nm northwest of the accident site, was from 200 degrees at 16 knots gusting to 26 knots. An hour later, at 1350, the reported wind conditions at Provo were from 200 degrees at 22 knots gusting to 40 knots. For runway 12, this wind would have resulted in a right steady state crosswind component of 21 knots and gust component of 38 knots. Spanish Fork does not have a weather reporting facility on the airport.

A witness said that he saw the airplane taxi for takeoff and heard the airplane depart. He said that 5 minutes later, as he was preparing to leave the airport, the wind “came up” and shook his hangar, rattling the hangar door. This witness stated that as he drove away from the airport he estimated the wind was blowing at 40 to 50 knots and gusting violently. He said that about 10 minutes later he heard about the crash at the airport. Another witness who watched the accident from about 1/2 mile away, stated that the wind was so strong that it rocked the truck he was driving.

The pilot reported no preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions.

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