Friday, April 17, 2020

Loss of Control on Ground: Cessna 180, N53ES; accident occurred April 16, 2020 at Cabin Creek Landing Airport (97MT), Marion, Flathead County, Montana

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity: 

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Helena, Montana

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Marion, MT
Accident Number: WPR20CA124
Date & Time: 04/16/2020, 1430 MDT
Registration: N53ES
Aircraft: Cessna 180
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control on ground
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 


The pilot reported that, during the landing roll, the airplane encountered a "heavy" wind gust that abruptly pushed the tail left. The pilot applied the brakes to regain directional control; however, as the "speed bled off," the elevator lost its effectiveness. The airplane nosed down, and the propeller then began striking the pavement, followed by the left wing, which sustained substantial damage. The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures 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 loss of directional control and subsequent improper brake application during the landing roll in gusting wind conditions, which resulted in a nose-over.


Aircraft Directional control - Not attained/maintained
Personnel issues Aircraft control - Pilot
Personnel issues Use of equip/system - Pilot
Environmental issues Gusts - Effect on operation

Factual Information

History of Flight

Landing-landing roll Other weather encounter
Landing-landing roll Loss of control on ground (Defining event)
Landing-landing roll Attempted remediation/recovery
Landing-landing roll Nose over/nose down

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private 
Age: 61, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None 
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No 
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 07/18/2018
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 07/03/2018
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 648 hours (Total, all aircraft), 93 hours (Total, this make and model), 518 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 14 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 8 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N53ES
Model/Series: 180 Undesignated
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1953
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 30053
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 05/27/2019, Continuous Airworthiness
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2550 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 3278.6 Hours
Engine Manufacturer: CONTINENTAL
ELT: C126 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-470-R25
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 230 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:
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: Light and Variable / 10 knots
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 30.26 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 13°C
Precipitation and Obscuration:
Departure Point: Bonners Ferry, ID (65S)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Marion, MT (97MT)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1314 PDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 3999 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 02
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3400 ft / 50 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Traffic Pattern

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: 48.073889, -114.677778 (est)

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