This August 2008 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 Cherokee. Injuries: 1 Minor. Location: Cleveland, Ga. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The pilot had 264 hours, including 123 in the accident airplane make and model. The pilot overflew the airport in preparation for landing, and observed the windsock, which he reported was flat. He entered the traffic pattern for runway 17 on the downwind leg, trimmed the airplane for 80 mph, and added one notch of flaps. The turf runway is 2,500 feet long, 200 feet wide. The pilot maintained 70 mph on final approach, and as the airplane touched down on the runway, he applied the brakes. The airplane began to skid. As it approached a fence at the end of the runway, the pilot steered the airplane off the right side. During the turn, the nose gear collapsed, the airplane ground looped, and then flipped over. According to both of the passengers, the pilot landed “too fast” and with a tailwind.
Probable cause: The pilot’s improper decision to land with a tailwind, and his failure to maintain aircraft control during the landing.
For more information: NTSB.gov