Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Cessna 305A, N72BD: Accident occurred July 29, 2017 at Eagle Lake Airport (KELA), Colorado County, Texas

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Houston, Texas

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Eagle Lake, TX
Accident Number: GAA17CA460
Date & Time: 07/29/2017, 1145 CDT
Registration: N72BD
Aircraft: CESSNA 305
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control on ground
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 


The pilot in command of the tailwheel-equipped airplane was in the rear seat during the personal flight. The owner of the airplane was in the front seat of the airplane.

The pilot in command made an approach to runway 17. He reported that just before the landing gear touched down, the airplane encountered a wind gust from the right. The nose of the airplane turned to the right and the airplane touched down on the runway. During the landing roll, the airplane exited the right side of the runway.

The owner of the airplane came on the controls and the airplane struck a runway light, then ground looped to the left.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the horizontal stabilizer and the upper left side of the fuselage just aft of the cabin.

The pilot reported that the wind was from 210° at 8 knots.

The nearest METAR, 25 miles northeast of the airport, reported that about the time of the accident the wind was from 260° at 6 knots and variable between 230° and 290°. The skies were clear with 9 statute miles of visibility.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

Per the National Transportation Safety Board Pilot Aircraft Accident Report, the pilot noted that the accident could have been prevented if he had carried more airspeed during the landing to combat the wind conditions. 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's loss of directional control during landing in variable wind conditions.


Directional control - Not attained/maintained (Cause)

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)

Environmental issues
Variable wind - Effect on operation (Cause)
Runway/taxi/approach light - Contributed to outcome

Factual Information

History of Flight

Other weather encounter

Loss of control on ground (Defining event)

Landing-landing roll
Runway excursion
Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 81, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Rear
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane; Helicopter
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Multi-engine; Airplane Single-engine
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 01/18/2017
Occupational Pilot:
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 01/29/2017
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 6135 hours (Total, all aircraft), 140 hours (Total, this make and model), 5500 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 33 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 9 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 67, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land; Single-engine Sea
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 04/03/2017
Occupational Pilot:
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 04/08/2017
Flight Time:   (Estimated) 4696 hours (Total, all aircraft), 171 hours (Total, this make and model), 4696 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 43 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 27 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 7 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: CESSNA
Registration: N72BD
Model/Series: 305 A
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1972
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 21655
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 12/11/2016, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2300 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines:  1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 1491.8 Hours
Engine Manufacturer: AMA/EXPR
ELT: C126 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: UNKNOWN ENG
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 213
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held:  None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KTME, 168 ft msl
Observation Time: 1635 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 25 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 61°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 33°C / 23°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  9 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 6 knots, 260°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 29.95 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: COLUMBUS, TX (TS27)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Eagle Lake, TX (ELA)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time:  CDT
Type of Airspace: Class E 

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 183 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 17
IFR Approach: VOR
Runway Length/Width: 3801 ft / 60 ft
VFR Approach/Landing:  Full Stop; Traffic Pattern 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None 
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude:  29.600556, -96.321944 (est)

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