***This report was modified on February 24, 2012. Please see the docket for this accident to view the original report.*** Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
After checking the weather for the route of flight, the pilot initiated the aerial observation flight to survey pipelines in his tail wheel equipped airplane. The flight was uneventful and the pilot set up to land at his planned airport to refuel. Prior to making the approach to land, the pilot checked the nearest weather reporting facility (about 33 miles to the southwest). The facility reported the wind from 270 degrees at 15 knots, with gusts of 20 knots. The pilot made preparations for a crosswind landing on the runway bearing 350 degrees. On final approach, the pilot noted that the windsock appeared to be extended at a 45 degree angle to the runway. He made his final approach with the upwind wing down and a bit more airspeed than usual to compensate for the crosswind. After both main wheels were on the runway, the pilot felt the upwind wing lift, even with full left aileron and opposite rudder inputs. He also felt that the airplane's right wheel brake was "spongy." As the wing lifted, the airplane began to ground loop to the left and the pilot thought that it was too late to initiate a go-around. The airplane then skidded off the runway, impacting terrain, which resulted in substantial damage to the wings. After the pilot exited the airplane, he noted that the windsock was fully extended perpendicular to the runway.
After the accident, the pilot stated that he was very experienced in crosswind landings and that he should have not relied on a distant weather facility report. He stated that he should have made a full pattern approach to check the windsock more closely and better assess the local wind before landing. He stated that if he had been aware of how high the crosswind actually was, he would not have landed at this airport.