Super Cub spins on icy runway

Aircraft: Piper Super Cub. Injuries: None. Location: Thedford, Neb. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The pilot landed on an icy runway. During the landing roll, the left main landing gear hit a patch of ice and the airplane veered to the left.

Efforts to regain directional control were unsuccessful, and the airplane spun more than 90° to the left and into a snowbank. The airplane nosed over on to its back.

The airplane’s fuselage, right wing, and right wing strut were substantially damaged during the accident.

Probable cause: The pilot did not maintain directional control during landing, which resulted in a runway excursion.

NTSB Identification: CEN12CA148

This February 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

    He was flying a “180” Cherokee,
    (I didn’t know Indians lived to be that old),
    Bet he’d have rather been riding on the prairie,
    Than trying to land on packed snow so very cold.

  2. Bill Willyard says

    This reminds me of what I a flight instructor once told me about the brakes on a tail dragger, “see those break peddles, those are for emergencies, if you use them your going to have an emergency”.

  3. Tom says

    The pilot was unable to control,
    The airplane within physical laws,
    Should have left up the landing on snow,
    To an expert sleigh driver named “Claus”.

  4. says

    About 50 years ago I volunteered orientation flights for Civil Air Patrol cadets flying from LSE. Flying a Cherokee 180, in late December, I had made 4 flights and this was the final flight. Runway conditions were packed snow and ice and plowed snow nearly to the top of runway lights. On the three previous flights I touched down and let the rough surface slow the plane for the first taxiway. This last flight, I miss my end of runway touch down point and saw I would miss my taxiway. I applied brakes and in an instant I was sliding sideways toward a runway light that would have tore into the wing. I added power hoping to swing the plane around, but too late. No I did not hit the lights, but did slide into a deep slow bank. Pride hurt and a tractor to pull us out, the Cadets loved the adventure.

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