Wind gusts, deep snow bad combination

Aircraft: Cessna 180. Injuries: None. Location: Cascade, Idaho. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: According to the pilot and a witness, the landing approach was normal. The airplane touched down in a three-point attitude close to the runway threshold and on the runway centerline. The airplane encountered a wind gust, became airborne again, drifted to the right, and touched down off the runway in an area covered with about 18 inches of snow. The pilot added power to recover, but the airplane’s main wheels sank into the snow. The plane nosed over onto its back.

The pilot stated that, if he had been aware of any wind gusts prior to landing, he would have conducted a wheel landing instead of a three-point landing.

Witnesses familiar with the airport reported that trees partially sheltered the windsock from wind out of the south/southwest, which was the wind direction at the time of the accident, and, therefore, wind from this direction was not always accurately indicated by the windsock.

Probable cause: The pilot’s inadequate compensation for a wind gust during landing, which resulted in a runway excursion. Contributing to the accident was a windsock partially sheltered by trees that provided inaccurate wind information.

NTSB Identification: WPR12CA086

This January 2012 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.


  1. Tom says

    Beware of wind from cross direction,
    It’s your skill that a pilot must trust,
    Not sleep apnea now FAA’s fixation,
    Third class medical that you don’t want to bust.

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