NTSB Identification: LAX00LA182.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, May 02, 2000 in FALLON, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/14/2001
Aircraft: SMITH ARTHUR FOX LONG EZ, registration: N7FS
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot reported that his landing approach was normal. There was a 50-degree right crosswind at 15 knots. After touching down near the threshold on the main landing gear, the aircraft lifted off the runway to a height of 20-25 feet agl and drifted laterally off the runway. The pilot initiated a go-around and attempted to correct the flight path back over the runway; however, the aircraft touched down a second time in soft sand off the runway shoulder and the main gear collapsed. The aircraft then skidded to a stop on the runway on its belly. The pilot speculated that an earlier, improper repair of the fiberglass main landing gear leg left the leg in a weakened condition and contributed to the gear collapse. Shortly after purchasing the airplane, the pilot discovered that one main landing gear leg was deformed outward. The deformed gear leg had been reheated and realigned by a person who represented to the pilot that he was an expert in fiberglass repairs. Another mechanic told the pilot after the accident that he was of the opinion that this reheating weakened the fiberglass to the extent that it failed prematurely during the off-runway touchdown.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain runway alignment and directional control during a crosswind landing that resulted in a touchdown off the runway surface in soft sand. A factor in the accident was an earlier improper repair, which weakened the landing gear strut.

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