Crosswind takes toll on training flight

This May 2007 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.

Aircraft: Cessna 172.
Location: West Chicago, Illinois.
Injuries: None.
Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: A pilot receiving instruction and a flight instructor were attempting to land on runway 33. The winds at the time of the accident were from 280° at 13 knots, gusting to 21 knots. This resulted in a crosswind of approximately 12 to 18 knots. The maximum demonstrated crosswind component of the Cessna 172 is 17 knots. As the airplane touched down, it yawed to the left. Before the instructor could take control of the aircraft, the left wheel went off the runway and the nosewheel dug into the soft terrain. The airplane pivoted to the left and the wing tip hit the ground.

The post-accident inspection of the airplane did not reveal any flight control malfunction.

Probable cause: The instructor’s inadequate remedial action following the student pilot’s loss of control during the crosswind landing and the instructor’s failure to compensate for the wind conditions.

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