This March 2009 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: None. Location: Dover, Delaware. Aircraft damage:
What reportedly happened: The pilot, who reported that he obtained his weather information from commercial television and radio stations,was practicing takeoffs and landings on runway 27. The airport had a wind sock, but there was no reported weather. About the time of the accident, winds at an airport nine miles southeast of the airport were reported to be from 330° at 12 knots, with gusts to 18 knots. The runway at the accident airport measured 3,582 feet long and 60 feet wide, with a displaced threshold of 350 feet. Calculations revealed that if these winds were present at the accident airport, they would have resulted in crosswind components from 11.7 to 17.5 knots. The demonstrated crosswind component of the airplane was 17 knots.
The pilot made one landing and noted the gusty conditions. He opted to conduct a second landing. The airplane was near touchdown when it unexpectedly began a turn to the left. The airplane first touched down approximately 75 feet left of the edge of the runway. It continued on a southerly arc away from the runway, passed through a tie-down area, and hit two parked airplanes. The accident airplane’s right wing was torn off and the airplane came to rest approximately 346 feet from the centerline of the runway.
He did not report experiencing any mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane during the accident landing.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain directional control during landing.
For more information: NTSB.gov