AAIB investigation to Cessna A185E, SE-FMX
Loss of control on landing, Bentwaters Aerodrome, 5 April 2014.
The aircraft was landing on the tarmac Runway 25 at Bentwaters Airfield, with wind from 180° at 15 kt. Having observed the windsock, the pilot made a wing-down crosswind approach with the tail wheel locked in the trailing position to assist directional control on the ground. On touchdown there was a slight bounce before the aircraft settled on all its wheels. It then slewed violently to the left and the right tyre “dug in”, causing the right wing to contact the runway and tipping the aircraft on its nose while still travelling at approximately 50 mph. The aircraft came to rest inverted and the uninjured occupants vacated it using the normal exits.
The pilot stated that he underestimated the severity of the gusting crosswind and had been unable to prevent the aircraft yawing into wind. He commented that the aircraft had a “notoriously big fin”, making it particularly susceptible to crosswinds, and that in future he would avoid landing in a crosswind of this magnitude.
Even in crosswinds less than the demonstrated maximum for a type, rudder alone may not be sufficient to maintain directional control. Applying into-wind aileron throughout the landing ground roll can assist in maintaining directional control. There was no indication of any pre-existing mechanical defect that might have affected the outcome.
Published: 10 December 2014
Date of occurrence: 5 April 2014