The pilot of the tailwheel, ski-equipped Piper PA18 reported that, while landing off airport on a snow-covered ridge near Pullman, Washington, the back of the right ski struck a tall, firm snow drift.
The right ski then pitched forward, the tip dug into the “crusty” snow, and the airplane nosed over.
The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage, empennage, and lift strut. The pilot sustained minor injuries.
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 selection of unsuitable terrain for landing, which resulted in a nose-over.
This March 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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