The airplane was being operated as an air-attack coordinator for aerial, forest firefighting activity. The pilot reported that, as the Rockwell International 500S approached the vicinity of the airport in Willcox, Ariz., he was not able to see any wind indicators due to the low-light conditions at dusk.
He contacted an FBO at the airport and was advised that the wind was light and variable, and, as he continued the approach, he noted that the tetrahedron was indicating a right quartering tailwind of “unknown strength.”
Following touchdown, the airplane immediately drifted right, which the pilot attributed to a 15-knot right quartering tailwind.
Despite his attempts to manipulate the throttle to regain directional control, the plane veered off the runway at an estimated ground speed of about 120 mph. The plane encountered soft sand, and the pilot was subsequently unable to steer the airplane, which resulted in the left wing colliding with terrain.
The NTSB determined the probable cause as the pilot’s failure to compensate for tailwind conditions and maintain directional control during landing, which resulted in a runway excursion.
NTSB Identification: WPR14TA278
This July 2014 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.