Pilot Reported There Were No Preimpact Mechanical Malfunctions Or Failures With The Airframe

Location: Air Force Academy, CO Accident Number: CEN22LA297
Date & Time: July 1, 2022, 12:25 Local Registration: N469AK
Aircraft: Cub Crafters Inc CC18-180 Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Glider tow

On July 1, 2022, about 1225 mountain daylight time, a Cub Crafters CC18-180 airplane, N469AK, sustained substantial damage when it was involved in an accident near the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado. The pilot sustained minor injury. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 glider tow flight.

The pilot completed the preflight activities and flew a tow pattern and was on the second tow flight to an altitude of about 9,500 ft above msl. The tow and glider release were uneventful. The pilot classified the approach to the airfield as normal and he prepared for a wheel landing with the airplane. As the airplane was level to slightly nose up for the wheel landing, the pilot reported he encountered “meteorological conditions I hadn’t seen/felt before.” The airplane began to “drift quickly left” and “more forcibly than normal turning tendencies.” The drift pushed the airplane over the grass area and the pilot decided to initiate a go-around.

As the airplane accelerated during the go-around, it started “turning/yawing” even though the pilot tried to accelerate straight and level. The pilot surmised this was from the same meteorological effect that initially pushed the airplane left and he classified it as a “wind vane effect.” The pilot noticed that the airplane seemed to yaw to the right without the wing drop characteristics of an aerodynamic stall. The airplane descended, it touched down, and came to rest inverted in a grass field. The pilot was able to egress from the airplane via the cockpit door without further incident.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings and the empennage. The pilot reported there were no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airframe or that engine that would have precluded normal operation. At the time of the accident, the estimated density altitude for the airfield was 8,977 ft above msl.

FMI: www.regulations.gov