Gust Of Wind Caused The Left Wing To Raise And Go “Vertical” Or “Knife Edge”

Location: Cumberland, MD Accident Number: ERA20CA209
Date & Time: 06/07/2020, 1330 EDT Registration: N2470D
Aircraft: Piper PA38 Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation – Personal

The pilot reported that after a stabilized approach to land, during the touchdown a gust of wind caused the left wing to raise and go “vertical” or “knife edge.” He immediately applied full power to go-around, however, the airplane was banking and drifting to the right and before the airplane could climb, it impacted terrain to the right of the runway and skidded down a ravine.

The left and right wings sustained substantial damage. The pilot reported that there were no preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane.

About the time of the accident the weather observation at the airport included wind from a heading of 320° at 9 knots, gusting to 18 knots. The calculated crosswind component for the landing on runway 5 was 14 knots.