CEN12LA171
CEN12LA171

On February 27, 2012, about 1052 mountain standard time, a Cessna R172E, N3196F, nosed over during taxi to runway 17 for takeoff at Front Range Airport (FTG), near Denver, Colorado. The private pilot sustained minor injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the wing and vertical stabilizer. The airplane was registered to the United States Air Force (USAF) and was operated by the USAF Peterson Aero Club under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a business flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a visual flight rules flight plan had been filed for the flight destined to City of Colorado Springs Municipal Airport (COS), Colorado Springs, Colorado. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

The pilot stated that he filed a flight plan and dispatched the airplane as he had done in the past. The flight from COS to FTG was "uneventful." When landing at FTG, he noticed that the wind began to gust. He taxied to the ramp where the engine was shutdown and the airplane was tied down. About 1035, he checked the winds and noticed that the winds were from a southerly direction and runway 17 was in use. The pilot stated that the FTG Automatic Terminal Information Service reported winds as 160 degrees at 27 knots gusting 38 knots. During the taxi on taxiway A (taxiway A was an east taxiway) to runway 17, the airplane tail lifted upward, and the airplane nosed over.

The winds at FTG were recorded at 1043 as: 170 degrees at 30 knots gusting 43 knots.

According to the Rocky Mountain USAF Flight Training Center Standard Operating Procedure, Section V. Wind Operating Limits, the maximum crosswind for pilot with less than 200 hours of flight time is 10 knots and for those with more than 200 hours, the maximum crosswind was the flight manual demonstrated crosswind component. The R172E manual says, “The maximum allowable crosswind velocity is dependent upon pilot capability rather than airplane limitations. However, with average pilot technique, direct crosswinds of 15 knots can be handled safety."

The pilot reported a total flight time of 1,400 hours, of which 100 hours were in single-engine airplanes, and 50 hours were in the make and model of the accident airplane.

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