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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: ERA15CA116
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, January 12, 2015 in Deland, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/27/2015
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28R-200, registration: N5033S
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot stated that he had decided to return to his originating airport after having been advised by air traffic control of an inbound thunderstorm during a local flight. The pilot obtained an instrument flight rules clearance and headed towards the airport, which was in the direction of the storm. During the first landing attempt on runway 30, the pilot noted strong wind gusts and "extreme precipitation," but elected to continue the landing. About 30 feet above the runway, a "strong windshear" forced the airplane onto the runway, which resulted in substantial damage to the left wing. The airplane subsequently lifted off the ground again and the pilot initiated a go-around. The pilot circled the runway and aborted three more attempts before he successfully landed the airplane. He reported that there were no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or anomalies that could have precluded normal operation. The pilot stated that he had obtained some weather information prior to his departure, but was not aware of the thunderstorm. A review of weather radar revealed the presence of strong winds and heavy precipitation over the pilot's originating airport at the time of the accident. Winds reported at the accident site about 10 minutes after the accident were from 320 degrees at 16 knots, gusting to 27 knots. There were also area forecasts for convective activity and Convective Sigmets that had been issued for the pilot's route of flight about one hour and thirty minutes prior to his departure.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • The pilot's inadequate preflight weather planning and decision to land in an area with known convective wind gusts, which resulted in a loss of control and subsequent hard landing.