Crosswind landing goes bad

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: St. George, Utah.
Injuries: None.
Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: During the approach the pilot checked the AWOS and determined that there was crosswind stronger than what he was comfortable with. He decided to circle north of the airport for a few minutes in hopes that the winds would subside. After a few minutes he listened to the AWOS again, and noted that the winds had decreased somewhat. He entered the pattern with the intent of performing a go-around to get a feeling for the strength of the winds.

After a successful go-around, he elected to attempt a landing. The landing was smooth, but during the roll out a gust of wind pushed the airplane to the right. The pilot was unable to apply enough rudder to keep the Cessna on the runway. It went off the pavement. The propeller struck a taxiway light and the left wing tip hit the ground.

Probable cause: The pilot’s inadequate compensation for a gusting crosswind and his failure to maintain directional control.

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