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N3156K accident description

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Crash location 36.254444°N, 85.969167°W
Nearest city Carthage, TN
36.252277°N, 85.951654°W
1.0 miles away
Tail number N3156K
Accident date 11 Jan 2017
Aircraft type Maule MX7
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On January 11, 2017, at 1540 central standard time, a Maule MX-7-160, N3156K, was substantially damaged during landing at a private, grass airstrip at Carthage, Tennessee. The commercial pilot was seriously injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Day, visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time, and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated at Lebanon Municipal Airport (M54), Lebanon, Tennessee, at 1518.

The pilot reported that the preflight inspection, departure, and cruise portions of the flight were uneventful. He entered the traffic pattern at his property, which consisted of a grass airstrip that was about 1,100 feet in length. He maneuvered the airplane for a landing to the north, which was always the landing direction due to runway slope and obstacles. He checked the wind at the departure airport prior to landing and recalled that it was out of the south at 12 knots. He also checked the wind sock at his airstrip prior to landing. Due to his injuries, he did not recall the events of the landing sequence.

A witness observed the accident and the weather conditions at the scene. He reported that the pilot arrived over the airstrip, and circled around the property. He then set up for a landing to the north. The wind was "really blowing hard" at the time, and he described the wind as strong and gusting, and coming from different directions. Just prior to the airplane touching down, the left wing dropped suddenly, and the right wing came up. The airplane then went nose down and stopped. He stated that the engine was "running great, no misfires or roughness."

An inspector with the Federal Aviation Administration responded to the accident site and examined the wreckage. Structural damage to left wing and fuselage was confirmed. An on-scene examination of the airframe, engine, and fuel system did not reveal evidence of a mechanical malfunction. The initial impact point was about 900 feet north of the approach end of runway 35, and about 200 feet west of the runway. The initial ground impact point matched damage to the left wingtip. The airplane came to rest in a nose low attitude, 30 feet to the west of the initial ground impact point. He also noted that runway 35 sloped uphill, with a total elevation change of 50-70 feet.

Murfreesboro Municipal Airport (MQY), Murfreesboro, Tennessee was located about 30 nautical miles southwest of the accident site. The MQY weather at 1556 included wind from 180 degrees at 12 knots with gusts to 20 knots. Nashville International Airport (BNA), Nashville, Tennessee, was located about 35 nautical miles west-southwest of the accident site. The BNA weather at 1553 included wind from 190 degrees at 16 knots, gusting to 23 knots, with a recorded peak wind from 190 degrees at 29 knots.

After the accident, the pilot reported that there was no mechanical failure or malfunction with the airplane prior to the accident. He also reported that the accident was the result of wind gusts that were not anticipated by him.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's inadequate compensation for gusting tailwind conditions, which resulted in a loss of airplane control during the landing flare.

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