While on a cross-country flight over an area of mountainous terrain near Homer, Alaska, the Cessna 140 pilot noticed a bear near the entrance to a mountain pass. While orbiting over the bear, a strong downdraft emanating from the pass entrance caused the airplane to descend toward the saddle of the mountain pass.
The pilot applied full engine power in an attempt to arrest the descent, but the airplane’s main landing gear wheels ultimately touched down in an area of grass-covered terrain.
The left main wheel subsequently struck a large rock, and the left wing struck the ground, resulting in substantial damage to the left wing and fuselage.
The pilot said that just after the accident, he estimated the surface wind to be from 90° to 140° at 10 knots, with gusts from 15 to 20 knots.
Probable cause: The pilot’s decision to fly at a low altitude in mountainous terrain and weather conditions conducive to downdrafts.
NTSB Identification: ANC15CA051
This July 2015 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.