Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Loss of Control on Ground: Cessna A185F Skywagon 185, N550FK; accident occurred February 22, 2020 at Hawley Municipal Airport (04Y), Clay County, Minnesota

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board 

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Fargo, North Dakota


Location: Hawley, Minnesota 
Accident Number: CEN20CA101
Date & Time: February 22, 2020, 15:50 Local 
Registration: N550FK
Aircraft: Cessna A185
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control on ground
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal


The pilot reported that, while on the base leg, he decided to perform a three-point landing with "2 notches of flaps." During the landing flare, the pilot realized the airplane was a "bit high," so he moved the flaps to the fourth notch to avoid bouncing during the landing. The tailwheel touched down first, and the airplane then bounced on its main landing gear and drifted right. The pilot attempted to correct by adding power and initiating a go-around, but the right main landing gear contacted a snowbank on the edge of the runway, and the airplane ground looped and then came to rest on its nose. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing. The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's improper landing flare and touchdown, which resulted in a bounced landing and loss of directional control and the airplane's subsequent impact with a snowbank and ground loop during an attempted go-around.


Aircraft Landing flare - Not attained/maintained
Aircraft Directional control - Not attained/maintained
Personnel issues Aircraft control - Pilot
Environmental issues Snow/ice - Effect on operation

Factual Information

History of Flight

Landing-flare/touchdown Abnormal runway contact
Landing-flare/touchdown Loss of control on ground (Defining event)
Landing-flare/touchdown Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)
Landing-flare/touchdown Attempted remediation/recovery
Landing-flare/touchdown Collision during takeoff/land

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private Age: 69,Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land; Single-engine sea
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None 
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None 
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: BasicMed With waivers/limitations 
Last FAA Medical Exam: July 25, 2019
Occupational Pilot: No Last Flight Review or Equivalent: June 20, 2018
Flight Time: 1738 hours (Total, all aircraft), 516 hours (Total, this make and model), 1563 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 18 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 10 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna 
Registration: N550FK
Model/Series: A185 F 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1977 
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 18503229
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel 
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: August 2, 2019 Annual 
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3525 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 5078 Hrs at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: C91 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: IO-550-D15B
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power: 300 Horsepower
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC)
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation:
Distance from Accident Site:
Observation Time: 
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear 
Visibility 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 5 knots / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:  /
Wind Direction: 220° 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:  /
Altimeter Setting: 29.77 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point:
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Detroit Lakes, MN (DTL) 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Hawley, MN (04Y) 
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 15:30 Local 
Type of Airspace: Class E

Airport Information

Airport: Hawley Municipal Airport 04Y
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 1210 ft msl
Runway Surface Condition:Dry
Runway Used: 16 
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3398 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Stop and go; Traffic pattern

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None 
Latitude, Longitude: 46.884166,-96.350555(est)

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