CEN12LA522
CEN12LA522

On August 1, 2012, about 1145 mountain daylight time, a Piper PA-18-150, N7808Z, ground looped and impacted terrain during an after landing taxi at Meadow Lake Airport (FLY), Peyton, Colorado. The airline transport pilot was uninjured. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing. The airplane was registered to and operated by High Flights Soaring Club Inc (HFSC) under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a glider tow flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which had not been operating on a flight plan. The local flight originated from FLY about 1000.

The pilot stated that before he towed anyone on any given day, he flew the tow airplane in the FLY traffic pattern and performed at least three simulated tow patterns and landings. On the day of the accident, the pilot was scheduled to be the on-duty tow pilot for HFSC. He performed several full-stop landings on runways 15 (6,000 feet by 60 feet, asphalt) and NS (1,800 feet by 15 feet, north 1,530 feet paved with asphalt) even though no one was scheduled to fly a sailplane. After his last full-stop landing, he cleared runway NS at mid-runway and taxied in a continuous sweeping right turn toward the northwest to the tie down area. About half-way through the right turn heading west, the airplane's right wing suddenly lifted upwards, which resulted in the left wing contacting the ground "in the blink of an eye" and before he could apply corrective control input. He did not see any airplane damage at first glance from the cockpit and continued the taxi to the tie down area without further incident.

Postflight inspection of the airplane by the pilot and a mechanic revealed that the fabric for the top left wing was wrinkled, and the left rear wing spar was bent.

The pilot stated that the accident could have been prevented if he had been more vigilant in watching and immediately correcting for any wind gust conditions that might upset the airplane during taxi. He said to always fly the airplane to the chocks, never relax.

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