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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: WPR14TA278
14 CFR Public Use
Accident occurred Wednesday, July 02, 2014 in Willcox, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/14/2015
Aircraft: ROCKWELL INTERNATIONAL 500 S, registration: N101AA
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this public aircraft accident report.

The airplane was being operated as an air-attack coordinator for aerial, forest firefighting activity. The pilot reported that, as the airplane approached the vicinity of the destination airport, he was not able to see any wind indicators due to the low-light conditions at dusk. He contacted a fixed-base operator at the airport and was advised that the wind was light and variable, and, as he continued the approach, he noted that the tetrahedron was indicating a right quartering tailwind of “unknown strength.” Following touchdown, the airplane immediately drifted right, which the pilot attributed to a 15-knot right quartering tailwind. Despite his attempts to manipulate the throttle to regain directional control, the airplane veered off the runway surface at an estimated ground speed of about 120 mph. The airplane encountered soft sand, and the pilot was subsequently unable to steer the airplane, which resulted in the left wing colliding with terrain. The pilot reported no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • The pilot’s failure to compensate for tailwind conditions and maintain directional control during landing, which resulted in a runway excursion.