Friday, September 10, 2021

Cessna A185F Skywagon 185, N4924E: Incident occurred September 08, 2021 and Accident occurred October 07, 2016

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

September 08, 2021:  Aircraft landed and veered off runway into the grass. 

NorthStar E & C LLC

Date: 08-SEP-21
Time: 18:32:00Z
Regis#: N4924E
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: A185
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
State: TEXAS

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; San Antonio, Texas

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: San Antonio, Texas 
Accident Number: GAA17CA013
Date & Time: October 7, 2016, 13:30 Local
Registration: N4924E
Aircraft: Cessna A185 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control on ground
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal


The pilot of a tailwheel equipped airplane reported that, while landing at a tower controlled airport, he performed a wheel landing and as the tail settled to the runway, in a "fraction of a second" the airplane was "sideways on the runway." He further reported that the airplane skidded off the runway to the right, the right main landing gear collapsed, and the right wing impacted the terrain.

The right wing sustained substantial damage.

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

The automated weather observing system at the accident airport, about two minutes before the accident, recorded the wind at 360 degrees true at 11 knots. In addition, a wind shift and frontal passage was recorded about 3 minutes before the accident. The pilot reported that he landed on runway 12 left.

The pilot submitted an additional statement, which in part stated: "1) Tower assigned a runway with a known quartering tail wind, up to 18 knots. 2) As pilot in command, I did not process the wind call out prior to landing."

According to the Federal Aviation Administration Chart Supplement, within the final approach path, a wind sock was located to the left of the runway. The flight was flown under day visual meteorological conditions, the airplane entered the pattern on a left downwind, and would have likely been visible to the pilot. However, the pilot reported that he did not observe the wind sock.

According to an Air Traffic Control transcript of tower and ground communications, the accident occurred about 3 minutes and 8 seconds after the accident airplane's initial contact with the tower, when the accident airplane reported, 3 miles east inbound. The tower responded to the initial call with, wind 010 at 18, cleared to land 12 left. 

About 40 seconds later, a ground controller held a taxiing jet stating in part: "hold out right there, we're not sure what we're going to be doing with the airport right now, [wind] 360 at 16, that's a pretty strong tailwind for you guys."

About 30 seconds later, tower directed the accident airplane to enter left downwind for 12 left and provided the landing clearance a second time for runway 12 left.

About 20 seconds later, a second airplane reported inbound and 8 seconds later was directed by tower to enter left downwind for 12 left. The airplane subsequently repeated the instruction and the tower reported wind 360 at 15.

About 25 seconds later, the second airplane requested to land runway 30 right instead of runway 12 left. The tower subsequently directed this second airplane to enter a left downwind for runway 30 left, while the accident airplane continued and landed on runway 12 left.

According to 14 CFR Part 91.3 titled, "Responsibility and authority of the pilot in command," sub bullet (a) states, "The pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation of that aircraft."

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to recognize the tailwind condition and maintain directional control during the landing roll, which resulted in a runway excursion.


Personnel issues Aircraft control - Pilot
Aircraft Directional control - Not attained/maintained
Environmental issues Tailwind - Decision related to condition
Environmental issues Variable wind - Effect on operation
Personnel issues Expectation/assumption - Pilot
Personnel issues Decision making/judgment - ATC personnel

Factual Information

History of Flight

Landing Other weather encounter
Landing-landing roll Loss of control on ground (Defining event)
Landing-landing roll Runway excursion
Landing-landing roll Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline transport; Commercial; Private
Age: 65, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land; Single-engine sea; Multi-engine land
Seat Occupied: Left
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 3 Without waivers/limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: December 1, 2013
Occupational Pilot: No 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: August 17, 2016
Flight Time: (Estimated) 4500 hours (Total, all aircraft), 4000 hours (Total, this make and model), 4500 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 35.4 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 2.2 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1.2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N4924E
Model/Series: A185 F
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1979
Amateur Built:
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 18503909
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: November 4, 2015 Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3525 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 2442 Hrs as of last inspection 
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: C126 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: IO-550-D
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: KSAT,809 ft msl 
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 18:28 Local
Direction from Accident Site: 0°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 2000 ft AGL
Visibility: 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 11000 ft AGL
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 11 knots / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:  / None
Wind Direction: 360° 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:  / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.04 inches Hg 
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C / 22°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: HOUSTON, TX (CXO)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: San Antonio, TX (SAT)
Type of Clearance: VFR flight following
Departure Time: 12:15 Local
Type of Airspace: Class C

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 809 ft msl
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 12L IFR 
Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 5519 ft / 100 ft 
VFR Approach/Landing: Full stop; Traffic pattern

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:  29.537776,-98.474166(est)

Preventing Similar Accidents

Manage Risk: Good Decision-making and Risk Management Practices are Critical

Although few pilots knowingly accept severe risks, accidents can also result when several risks of marginal severity are not identified or are ineffectively managed by the pilot and compound into a dangerous situation. Accidents also result when the pilot does not accurately perceive situations that involve high levels of risk. Ineffective risk management or poor aeronautical decision-making can be associated with almost any type of fatal general aviation accident.

By identifying personal attitudes that are hazardous to safe flying, applying behavior modification techniques, recognizing and coping with stress, and effectively using all resources, pilots can substantially improve the safety of each flight. Remember that effective risk management takes practice. It is a decision-making process by which pilots can systematically identify hazards, assess the degree of risk, and determine the best course of action. Pilots should plan ahead with flight diversion or cancellation alternatives and not be afraid to change their plans; it can sometimes be the difference between arriving safely late or not arriving at all.

See for additional resources.

The NTSB presents this information to prevent recurrence of similar accidents. Note that this should not be considered guidance from the regulator, nor does this supersede existing FAA Regulations (FARs). 

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