The pilot reported that during the takeoff roll about 60 knots with a “slight” crosswind, he “felt an abrupt” turn to the right, heard a “huge steady scrape” sound, and noted a vibration.
Airborne at 65 knots, he reported a strong gust of wind from the left that felt like a quartering tail wind. He reported he did not believe he had touched back down on the runway after becoming airborne.
The pilot then flew the American AA1 over the airport where a local pilot on the ground reported to him that the nose landing gear was bent.
During the subsequent landing at the airport in Brigham City, Utah, he made a soft field type of landing with the main landing gear touching down first. He held the nose landing gear off the ground as long as possible, but when the nose landing gear touched down, he had no directional control and he heard a scraping noise.
The airplane left the runway to the right into a ditch and nosed over, sustaining substantial damage to the fuselage, left wing, and vertical stabilizer.
The pilot reported that he took off on Runway 17 about 1410. The weather observation facility at the airport reported that from 1355 to 1415, the wind velocity varied from 13 knots to 15 knots with occasional gusts to 19 knots, and the wind direction varied from 190° to 240°.
According to the FAA Type Certificate Data Sheet, the maximum demonstrated crosswind component for the airplane is 15 miles per hour (13.03 knots).
The FAA’s Airplane Flying Handbook FAA-H-8083-3A (2004) discusses operations in crosswind conditions and states in part: Takeoffs and landings in certain crosswind conditions are inadvisable or even dangerous. If the crosswind is great enough to warrant an extreme drift correction, a hazardous landing condition may result. Therefore, the takeoff and landing capabilities with respect to the reported surface wind conditions and the available landing directions must be considered. It is imperative that pilots determine the maximum crosswind component of each airplane they fly, and avoid operations in wind conditions that exceed the capability of the airplane.
Probable cause: Loss of directional control during landing, due to nose landing gear damage sustained in the prior takeoff, resulting in a runway excursion and nose over.
NTSB Identification: GAA16CA149
This March 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.