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N21408 accident description

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Tail numberN21408
Accident dateFebruary 22, 2003
Aircraft typeCessna 182P
LocationSo. Charleston, WV
Near 38.335 N, -81.731667 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On February 22, 2003, about 1542 eastern standard time, a Cessna 182P, N21408, was substantially damaged during an aborted landing at the Mallory Airport (WV12), South Charleston, West Virginia. The certificated private pilot was seriously injured, and the passenger was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight that departed Jackson County Airport (I18), Ravenswood, West Virginia. A flight plan was not filed, and the flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to the pilot, he had planned on flying from WV12 to Jackson County, and return. He arrived at Mallory about 1115, and after meeting with friends, went out to his airplane. Another pilot who was also flying to Jackson and back checked the weather, and advised the pilot it was suitable for the flight, adding that rain showers were forecasted for the Mallory area after their expected time of return. The pilot preflighted the airplane, noted no anomalies, and boarded with his passenger. He then started the engine, completed the engine runup checks, and departed for the 30-minute flight to Jackson.

During the flight, the pilot noted approximately a 30-knot tailwind at 3,500 feet msl. The landing at Jackson was uneventful, and the pilot taxied to parking and had the airplane refueled. After adding approximately 36 gallons, the pilot preflighted the airplane, and drained all the fuel sumps. He and his passenger then boarded the airplane for the 40-minute flight back to Mallory.

The pilot started the engine, taxied to the active runway, and departed. After leveling off at 2,500 feet msl, he noted approximately a 25-knot headwind. The flight progressed without incident, and once in the Mallory area the pilot checked the ATIS at Yeager Airport (CRW), Charleston, West Virginia. The ATIS reported the wind as 160 degrees magnetic at 9 knots. In addition, the pilot noticed a steam trail being emitted from a stack approximately 8 miles to the northwest of the airport, which showed the wind as calm below 1,500 feet msl.

The pilot entered the downwind for runway 33, a 2,000 foot long, 24 foot wide asphalt runway, and selected full flaps. When he turned base, the airplane was a "little high," so he entered a slip until obtaining the proper descent angle. He turned final, and crossed the landing threshold at his planned altitude and airspeed. As the pilot initiated the flare, he could feel the airplane yaw to the right and start to float down the runway. He added "full left" rudder, and got the airplane back over the centerline. The airplane then yawed "hard" to the left, and the pilot responded with "full right" rudder. One of the wheels touched down about the middle of the runway, and at that same point, the pilot decided to abort the landing.

He added full throttle, selected the carburetor heat to "OFF," and raised the flaps to the takeoff position. The pilot recalled that the airspeed was below the "green arc," and that the airplane was climbing, but at an insufficient rate to clear the trees and power lines at the far end of the runway, so he aimed for a small opening between some trees. After that point in the accident sequence, the pilot's memory was fragmented; however, he recalled both wings impacting the trees and the fuselage coming to rest upside down. With the assistance of a witness, the pilot egressed from the airplane, and was life flighted to a local hospital.

The pilot reported that he had landed at Mallory with a 9-knot tailwind before, and that he felt comfortable attempting the landing based on the reported winds and his own observations. In addition, the pilot stated he experienced no preimpact failures or malfunctions with either the engine or airframe during the aborted landing.

During an interview with a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, the pilot stated that on the downwind leg it was "rough and bouncy," and when he was on his base leg, the wind was pushing him towards the airport. The pilot also said that while on final, the winds were pushing him towards the left of the runway and he tried to correct with rudder, but due to the severe winds he had no positive rudder action at first. Then the rudder "kicked in," but still the winds were very strong. The pilot further stated that about 30 minutes before his accident a Cessna 206 attempted to land at WV12, but the winds were so strong that the aircraft made a go-around and went elsewhere.

A pilot flying over the airport at the time of the accident stated he observed the airplane on approach. He said, "The airplane touched down and bounced back up into the air."

According to the pilot, at the time of the accident, he had a total flight experience of 330 hours, with 10 hours in the previous 90 days, and 3 hours in the previous 30 days. In addition, the airplane was based at the accident airport, which the pilot had conducted several hundred takeoffs and landings at over the past several years.

A weather observation taken about 12 minutes after the accident at Yeager, recorded the wind as 150 degrees magnetic at 13 knots gusting to 19 knots, visibility 10 miles, few clouds at 12,000 feet agl, temperature 62 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 52 degrees Fahrenheit, and an altimeter setting of 29.11 inches of mercury.

According to the Airport Facility Directory, Mallory had one runway, 15/33. Under operational restrictions it stated, "Land to the North." The airport was constructed on a hill, with the high ground to the north and northwest.

The Cessna pilot information manual contained takeoff and landing distance charts. The landing distance chart used maximum gross weight only for computations. Using 1,000 feet pressure altitude and 20 degrees centigrade, the published landing ground roll was 620 feet, and 1,400 feet to clear a 50 foot obstacle. Under the NOTES section of the chart it said, "For operation with tailwinds up to 10 knots, increase distance by 10% for each 2 knots."

Using the takeoff chart at a weight of 2,700 pounds, 1,000 feet pressure altitude and 20 degrees centigrade, the published takeoff roll was 650 feet, and 1,235 feet to clear a 50 foot obstacle. Under the NOTES section of the chart it said, "For operation with tailwinds up to 10 knots, increase distance by 10% for each 2 knots."

The Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge stated the following regarding the effects of wind on takeoff performance. "...a tailwind will decrease performance by increasing the takeoff distance and reducing the angle of climb. The decrease in airplane performance must be carefully considered by the pilot before a downwind takeoff is attempted."

(c) 2009-2011 Lee C. Baker. For informational purposes only.