NTSB Identification: GAA16CA183
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, April 09, 2016 in Pantego, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/01/2016
Aircraft: PIPER PA22, registration: N5069Z
Injuries: 1 Minor.
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 reported that during the takeoff roll on a grass airstrip, a "strong burst of wind" blew his airplane out of control. The airplane departed the grass airstrip to the right, nosed over, and came to rest in a canal. He reported that he had not reached rotation when the loss of control occurred. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage, both wings, the vertical stabilizer, and the rudder.
The pilot verified that there were no preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation.
The pilot reported that he took off from the grass airstrip with a heading of 020 degrees about 1530 and the wind gust just before rotation came from the west. He reported that the wind velocity at the accident site was 15 knots gusting to 20 knots, and the wind direction was 320 degrees. The closest weather reporting facility to the accident location reported that from 1510 to 1530, the wind velocity varied from 15 to 17 knots with occasional gusts from 25 knots to 33 knots, and the wind direction was 290 degrees.
The Federal Aviation Administration has published the Airplane Flying Handbook FAA-H-8083-3A (2004). This handbook discusses operations in crosswind conditions and states in part:
Takeoffs and landings in certain crosswind conditions are inadvisable or even dangerous. If the crosswind is great enough to warrant an extreme drift correction, a hazardous landing condition may result. Therefore, the takeoff and landing capabilities with respect to the reported surface wind conditions and the available landing directions must be considered.
The headwind component and the crosswind component for a given situation can be determined by reference to a crosswind component chart. It is imperative that pilots determine the maximum crosswind component of each airplane they fly, and avoid operations in wind conditions that exceed the capability of the airplane.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
A loss of directional control during the takeoff roll in gusting wind conditions, which resulted in a runway excursion, a nose over, and an impact with terrain. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's decision to takeoff in gusting crosswind conditions.