Downdraft on go-around for Cub

This July 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: Piper J-3 Cub. Injuries: None. Location: Buckhead, Ga. Aircraft damage: Substantial,

What reportedly happened: The pilot departed from his private airstrip. He saw thunderstorms approaching the area and noted the winds were increasing, so he returned to the airstrip for landing. On final approach, he noticed that a gate had been left open and his miniature donkeys were crossing the runway.

He added power to go around, but the airplane would not climb. The airplane encountered a downdraft and came down in the trees.

The post-accident examination did not find any issues with the airframe, flight controls or engine. Weather radar data indicated that the area overhead the accident site was associated with dissipating echoes, which were decreasing in area coverage and in intensity with time, and implied a dissipating rain shower that would be typical of prevailing downdraft activity.

Probable cause: An in-flight encounter with a downdraft during a go-around, resulting in a collision with trees and the ground.

For more information: NTSB Identification: ERA10CA366



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