This February 2007 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Posted as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.
Aircraft: Cessna 172.
Location: Lake Wells, Fla.
Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: A pilot receiving instruction and a CFI were attempting to land in gusty crosswind conditions.
The flight instructor reported that about four miles from the airport they attempted to get an airport advisory using the Common Traffic Advisory Frequency but did not get any response. In particular they wanted a check of the winds. They overflew the airport and looked for wind indicators, but did not see any.
The instructor then used a nearby lake to judge the winds and decided to land on runway 36. Applying wind correction on final approach, the instructor landed on the center of the runway. A sudden and very strong wind gust turned the airplane to the right. The instructor attempted to correct with left rudder but was unable to maintain control. The airplane wobbled, both wing tips striking the ground.
An aviation weather reporting station located nine nautical miles to the west of the airport listed the winds as from the west at 15 knots with gusts to 25 knots.
Probable cause: The flight instructor’s inadequate compensation for the gusty crosswind conditions.