The pilot reported that while en route to his destination, the wind at the Susanville, California, airport was reported as 180° magnetic, at 19 to 22 knots, gusting 25 to 28 knots.
He added 5 knots to the “normal speed” of 70 knots for approach to “help compensate” for the gusts.
About 20 feet above the ground, the airspeed “suddenly dropped” to 60 knots. The pilot added full power in an attempt to go-around. The left wing “abruptly lifted,” and according to the pilot, “all remaining altitude was quickly lost.”
The Piper PA-28’s right wing hit the ground and the airplane cart-wheeled.
The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage, empennage, and both wings.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain airspeed control during the landing in gusty wind conditions, resulting in an abnormal runway contact, and collision with terrain.
NTSB Identification: GAA15CA239
This August 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.