Aircraft: Mooney M20K Injuries: None. Location: Page, Ariz. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: It was dusk when the pilot was taxiing from the transient parking towards the runway for takeoff. He said he was taxiing at a walking pace when he encountered a large ditch at the end of the tarmac. He was unable to avoid the ditch and the propeller and empennage were damaged.
The pilot commented that there were no signs, reflectors, warnings, or other indications that the ditch was there.
The airport manager reported that the taxi route from the transient area is clearly marked with in-ground reflectors that lead to a lit taxiway and then to the runway.
According to the manager, it appeared the pilot proceeded directly to the taxiway from the transient parking area across a set of double solid lines that demarcate the taxiway edge, and continued into a helicopter operating/parking area. From there he crossed a marked service road, past a helicopter landing pad, and past a lit windsock before hitting the drainage ditch. The airport manager added that since the area is clearly marked and only intended for helicopter traffic, there is no extra signage warning of the ditch.
Probable cause: The pilot’s selection of the wrong taxi route and failure to follow prescribed taxi procedures.
NTSB Identification: WPR11CA257
This June 2011 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.