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N8901C accident description

Oregon map... Oregon list
Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Redmond, OR
44.272620°N, 121.173921°W
Tail number N8901C
Accident date 19 Jul 2001
Aircraft type Piper PA-20-135
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On July 19, 2001, approximately 1308 Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA-20-135 airplane, N8901C, was substantially damaged in a ground loop during landing on runway 4 at Roberts Field, Redmond, Oregon. The private pilot, whose application to register the aircraft in his name was pending with the FAA, and one passenger were not injured in the accident. Visual meteorological conditions were reported at Redmond in a special observation taken at 1310. The aircraft was on a visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan from Pullman, Washington, to Ashland, Oregon, and according to the pilot, the aircraft departed its last departure point of Pendleton, Oregon, about 1030.

The pilot stated that upon arrival at Redmond, he was instructed to enter traffic for runway 28 (7,006 feet by 100 feet grooved asphalt, according to the U.S. Government Airport/Facility Directory [A/FD].) The pilot stated that on his first landing attempt, he "bounced moderately and decided to go around and re-land to work on better landing technique." He reported that on his second approach, winds had increased and were variable. He stated that on this approach, the flare and initial rollout went well but that "the continuing rollout swerved to the left and did not respond well to correction." The pilot stated that he therefore decided to go around again, and stated: "Although I was unsure at the time whether I made contact or avoided a runway light, evidence on the aircraft indicates that a contact did occur." The pilot reported that at this point, he contacted the tower and told them that he was having some trouble with crosswind on runway 28. The control tower then offered runway 4 (7,040 feet by 150 feet grooved asphalt, per the A/FD.) The pilot stated that on the third approach, "I placed the aircraft with good speed control at the center of the runway while holding against a moderate crosswind from the left." He reported that "Within a few feet, however, a crosswind (seemingly quartering tailwind) from the right lifted the right wing", and that the aircraft then "arced immediately to the left." The pilot stated that he believed he was holding full right rudder at this point, but that the plane did not respond, with differential braking being "initially impossible or ineffective as the plane was on left main gear only." He reported that "The plane slowed and did its final swing at a low rate of speed (8-10 mph)." He stated that the tailwheel then began castering and then collapsed to the left, stating that "A bolt holder on the side of a shackle caging the spring had failed with side-load." The pilot stated that at the approximate time of the accident, "two windsocks were visible indicating moderately strong winds in 180 degree opposite directions on the same runway." According to a special weather observation taken at Redmond at 1310, winds were variable between 280 and 010 degrees true at 8 knots.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's inadequate compensation for wind conditions during landing. A factor was variable winds.

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