The pilot of the tailwheel-equipped Piper PA12 reported that, before landing at an unimproved snow-covered airstrip near Cedar City, Utah, he chose to do a “low fly-by with a light touch” to gauge the landing surface condition. When the airplane touched down on “what looked like compact snow,” the landing gear dug into the snow crust and the airplane nosed over.
The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings, windshield, and the empennage.
The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.
Probable Cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain pitch control while conducting a touch-and-go landing on an unimproved, snow-covered airstrip, which resulted in a nose-over.
This February 2019 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.
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