Too much crosswind, not enough rudder

This June 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 185. Injuries: None. Location: Bryce Canyon, Utah. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The pilot was departing from the airport and the winds were variable, with reported gusts to 15 knots.

Due to the variable winds he elected to depart from runway 30. The airplane accelerated normally down the runway and he applied forward elevator to prevent a premature lift-off.

The airplane began to drift to the left. The pilot applied aileron and rudder to correct, but was not able to return the plane to the center of the runway. The right wing began to drag on the surface. The pilot aborted the takeoff. The airplane came to rest about 100 feet to the left of the runway edge and about 1,500 feet from the departure end of the runway.

Winds at the airport 15 minutes before the accident were from the southeast at 13 knots, gusting to 18 knots, 10 minutes before the accident they were from the south-southeast at 9 knots, gusting to 17 knots, and at the time of the accident were from the south at 16 knots, gusting to 21 knots.

Probable cause: The pilot’s inadequate compensation for the crosswinds during takeoff.

For more information: NTSB Identification: WPR10CA304


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