The pilot reported he had just departed from the airport in Johnson City, Kansas, and saw a family member working in an adjacent field and decided to perform a fly-by.
While performing a low-level left turn over the field, he felt the Cessna 120’s left wing dropping toward the ground.
He immediately applied full right aileron, at which point, the left wing began dragging on the ground. The propeller subsequently impacted the ground, followed by the right wing, and the airplane slid to a stop.
The airplane sustained substantial damage to the right wing and fuselage.
The pilot reported there were no pre-accident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. He added that if he had been at a higher altitude, the accident would not have happened.
Probable Cause: The pilot’s improper decision to fly the airplane at too low an altitude, resulting in the airplane impacting terrain.
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This November 2020 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.