The pilot reported that during the approach to the airport in Seeley Lake, Montana, he was informed by a person on the ground, who was not associated with airport operations, that there was about 3 inches of compacted snow on the runway.
Before attempting to land, he completed a low pass over the runway to observe the runway conditions, but reported that it was dusk and he was observing flat light conditions.
He reported that the touchdown was normal, but about 50 to 75 feet into the landing roll the Cessna 175 pulled to the left. He attempted to correct with right rudder, but was unable to stop the plane from ground looping to the left into a snow berm.
After the accident, he observed that he “landed left of center” and the left main landing gear caught a one foot snow berm. The right wing and right elevator were substantially damaged.
According to the FAA Airport Facility Directory, the destination had “intermittent” snow removal and the airport manager could be called for current conditions.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to identify the plowed runway width in dusk and flat light conditions, which resulted in a touchdown left of the runway center, an impact with a snow berm, and a ground loop.
NTSB Identification: GAA16CA097
This January 2016 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.