Gusty winds, soft field bad combination

This May 2010 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. Injuries: None. Location: Blue Hill, Maine. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The flight instructor was attempting to demonstrate a soft-field landing to a grass runway. According to the CFI, during the landing roll, a “strong wind gust from the right” lifted the right wing, and the airplane “slid sideways to the left.”

The student pilot noted that the airplane had landed “midline,” and after the gust of wind struck, the nose of the airplane headed left even though the instructor had applied full right rudder and aileron. The left wing slid into trees.

The nearest weather station, which was about nine miles east of the accident, included winds from 320° at 12 knots, gusting 17 knots.

Probable cause: The CFI’s inability to maintain directional control while landing with gusting winds.

For more information: NTSB Identification: ERA10CA268



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