Friday, December 20, 2019

Loss of Control on Ground: Piper PA-12 Super Cruiser, N3985M; accident occurred September 27, 2019 in Williams, Colusa County, California

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Sacramento, California

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Williams, CA
Accident Number: GAA19CA586
Date & Time: 09/27/2019, 1330 PDT
Registration: N3985M
Aircraft: Piper PA 12
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control on ground
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

The pilot of the tailwheel-equipped airplane reported that, after landing on a gravel road, he looked to the right and unintentionally steered the airplane to the right into a small ditch. He applied power to force the airplane out of the ditch back onto the road, however, the right main landing gear "locked up due to the weeds wrapping around it". The airplane ground looped and nosed over.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings and empennage.

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

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 56, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 07/26/2018
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 07/05/2019
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 1291 hours (Total, all aircraft), 355 hours (Total, this make and model), 1080 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 19 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 6 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N3985M
Model/Series: PA 12 No Series
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1947
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 12-2865
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 10/25/2018, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1750 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 1128.9 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91 installed
Engine Model/Series: O-320
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 150 hp
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: KMYV, 62 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 25 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1953 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 89°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 3100 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 9 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 150°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.86 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 23°C / 14°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Colusa, CA (O08)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Willows, CA (WLW)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1315 PDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 39.094722, -122.097778 (est)

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