The Piper PA-12 pilot told investigators that he was landing at a short, unimproved, off-airport landing site near Nikolai, Alaska.
He noted that the plane had a malfunctioning airspeed indicator.
After touchdown, he immediately retracted the flaps when a strong gusting crosswind lifted the left wing, and the right main tire simultaneously hit a large rock.
The airplane bounced into the air, and he applied throttle to arrest the airplane’s descent and touched down again.
Realizing he was beyond the halfway point of the landing surface, he applied full throttle and initiated a go-around. The airplane failed to gain altitude, stalled, hit the ground and nosed-over, sustaining substantial damage to the left wing, vertical stabilizer and rudder.
A postaccident examination revealed no anomalies with the airspeed indicator instrument, however, a blockage was present in the pitot/static system.
The pilot stated that the accident may have been prevented if he had returned to his departure airstrip when he noticed the malfunctioning airspeed indicator rather than continuing and attempting to land at the short, unimproved, off-airport landing site.
Probable Cause: The pilot’s loss of control on go-around in gusting crosswind conditions. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s decision to attempt to land at a short off-airport landing site with a malfunctioning airspeed indicator.
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This August 2021 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.