The pilot in the tailwheel-equipped Fairchild 24R reported that, during the approach to land on a grass airstrip in Catlett, Virginia, he avoided power lines and buildings that were located at the approach end of what he perceived to be the runway.
Before the landing flare, he realized that what he perceived as the runway was a wheat field.
The airplane’s main landing gear became entangled with the wheat stocks, and the airplane hit the ground. It airplane nosed over and came to rest inverted.
Substantial damage was sustained to the engine mounts, the rudder, the vertical stabilizer, and the wing strut.
The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.
Probable cause: The pilot’s selection of an unsuitable landing area, which resulted in the airplane hitting wheat stalks and a subsequent nose-over.
NTSB Identification: GAA17CA295
This May 2017 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.