NTSB Identification: ATL97LA071.
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Accident occurred Thursday, May 08, 1997 in JACKSONVILLE, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/07/1998
Aircraft: Piper PA-23-250, registration: N520SM
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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

According to the pilot, he was on a test flight to check the operation of his landing gear. He attempted to make a low approach over the grass strip between the runway and the maintenance building on the airport. As he flew over the grass strip, a flock of egrets flew up ahead of the airplane. As he attempted to avoid the birds, he struck the ground. After becoming airborne briefly, the airplane made an emergency landing, due to propeller damage, in the runway overrun area on the east side of the airport property.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain terrain clearance while on a low pass, leading to propeller damage. A factor was birds in the area.

Full narrative available

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