NTSB Identification: MIA96LA152.
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Accident occurred Saturday, June 08, 1996 in SAN JUAN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/18/1997
Aircraft: Piper PA-32R-301, registration: N821RR
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

Two days before the accident, tape had been placed over each static port in preparation for washing the airplane. The person who placed the tape and the person who washed the airplane did not remove the tape after the airplane had been washed. During the preflight inspection of the airplane, the student pilot did not observe or remove the tape covering each static port. The airplane preflight inspection checklist indicates that each static port is required to be inspected to verify each is clear. The flight departed to perform touch-and-go landings and during the downwind leg, the airspeed indicator indicated 0. The pilot stated he lowered the landing gear via the normal method but the gear indicator lights circuit breaker popped several times while in the pattern. Witnesses reported hearing the airplane flying in the traffic pattern at near full power. The pilot flew over the runway and remained in the pattern. While on final approach during the second pattern, all gear indicator lights indicated that the gear was down and locked. The airplane landed hard causing all three gears to collapse and the nose baggage door to open. Flight tests confirm that the airspeed indicator would indicate during the takeoff roll until the flight was about 400 feet above ground level at which time the airspeed indicator would indicate 0. The pilot had a total of 3.6 hours total solo time in the accident airplane and no more than 15 solo landings. He did not activate the equipped alternate static source.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

Failure of the student pilot to maintain the proper descent rate resulting in a hard landing. Contributing to the accident was: the failure of other maintenance personnel to remove tape that was placed by company personnel over each static port before washing the airplane, inadequate preflight of the airplane by the student pilot, his failure to activate the alternate static source, and his lack of total experience in make and model airplane.

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