Monday, March 23, 2020

Loss of Control in Flight: Just JA30 SuperSTOL, N914MS; accident occurred March 21, 2020 at Pierce County Airport (KPLU), Puyallup, Washington

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Des Moines, Washington

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Puyallup, Washington
Accident Number: WPR20CA113
Date & Time: March 21, 2020, 12:18 Local
Registration: N914MS
Aircraft: Just JA30 SUPERSTOL 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight 
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal


The pilot reported that, just before touchdown, the airplane encountered a wind gust from the left, which caused the airplane to weathervane to the right and the left wing to rise. The pilot applied left aileron control and full power but was unable to maintain control. The right wingtip impacted the ground, the landing gear collapsed, and the airplane nosed down. 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 failure to maintain airplane control during landing in gusting crosswind conditions, which resulted in the wing striking the ground.


Personnel issues Aircraft control - Pilot
Aircraft (general) - Not attained/maintained
Environmental issues Gusts - Effect on operation

Factual Information

History of Flight

Landing-flare/touchdown Other weather encounter
Landing-flare/touchdown Loss of control in flight (Defining event)
Landing-flare/touchdown Attempted remediation/recovery
Landing-flare/touchdown Landing gear collapse
Landing-flare/touchdown Nose over/nose down

Pilot Information

Certificate: Sport Pilot
Age: 62, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None 
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): None 
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None 
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Sport pilot None 
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot:
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: June 11, 2019
Flight Time: (Estimated) 339.6 hours (Total, all aircraft), 171 hours (Total, this make and model), 208.6 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 17.6 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 5.1 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Just
Registration: N914MS
Model/Series: JA30 SUPERSTOL Undesignated
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental (Special)
Serial Number: JA370-04-14
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel 
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 100 hour 
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1320 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 115.6 Hrs at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Rotax
ELT: Installed 
Engine Model/Series: 914 UL
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power: 115 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: KPLU,539 ft msl 
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 12:15 Local
Direction from Accident Site: 6°
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Visibility: 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 1600 ft AGL 
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:  /
Wind Direction: 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 30.27 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 10°C / 5°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Puyallup, WA (PLU) 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Puyallup, WA (PLU)
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time:
Type of Airspace: Class E

Airport Information

Airport: Pierce County - Thun Field PLU 
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 537 ft msl
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 35 IFR 
Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3651 ft / 60 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Stop and go

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 47.098609,-122.28778(est)