(From the Long Beach Flying Club and Academy Newsletter)
Saturday, May 24, we had two planes ground loop or depart the runway and damage themselves; a beautiful C-195 and a Cirrus S-20 . The primary reason for the problems was the wind from the north at 10 kts, gusting to 18 kts. Whenever we get north winds above 15kts crossing the runway, it produces turbulence in excess of the wind velocity because of the close proximity of mountains north of the field that concentrate/funnel winds.
The same topography can initiate dust devils, usually visible as a brown dust tornado that moves across the runway. These are powerful vortexes that no plane should mess with. First, the 195 encountered the winds around 11am and looped, damaging a wingtip and left main gear. Then around 4pm, the Cirrus landed and hit winds and departed the runway, hitting signs that damaged flap hinges and wheel pants. Occupants in both planes were ok but damage to each precluded any more flying.
The lesson here is to be aware of cross winds from the north that can effect landings and to be watchful for vortexes. Big Bear is normally a great place to fly in to but sometimes winds can become dangerous