NTSB Identification: MIA05IA132.
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Incident occurred Tuesday, July 05, 2005 in Titusville, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/26/2007
Aircraft: Piper PA-34-220T, registration: N700VR
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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

According to the pilot, the airplane touched down on the runway on all landing gears, bounced slightly, then touched down on the nose landing gear causing it to collapse. On short final approach when the airplane was approximately 10-15 feet above the runway, the pilot applied nose-up pitch trim to counter the nose-heavy tendency of the airplane but the pitch trim continued to operate in the nose-up direction despite his release of the pitch trim switch. He applied power and forward pressure on the control yoke. Postaccident examination of the electric pitch trim system revealed the rocker switches would intermittently stick in either the nose-up or nose-down position. Testing and disassembly of the pilot's electric pitch trim switch revealed the unit tested satisfactory electrically, but intermittent mechanical sticking in either the nose-up or nose-down direction was noted. Dirt/grime was noted near the rocker switch assembly. Examination of both rocker switches revealed the hole (pivot point) in 1 of the 2 was .001 less than the minimum specification. The pitch trim servo operationally tested satisfactory. Since purchase by the pilot approximately 2 months earlier, he accumulated approximately 20 hours and noted that during the last 2 or 3 flights, or a total of 8 or 9 times, the pitch trim continued in the direction of application when using the pitch trim switch on the pilot's control yoke. He corrected this by moving the control yoke opposite the direction of the travel of the trim, and also by moving the pilot's pitch trim switch opposite the initial application direction. Of the 8 or 9 times, the trim continued in the nose-down direction 6 times, and in the nose-up direction 2 or 3 times. He did not have a mechanic inspect the electric pitch trim system to determine the cause of the trim continuing in the direction of application, and on the day of the accident when the airplane was at an avionics shop to have work performed, he did mention to any personnel the issue related to the pitch trim.

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

The pilot's continued operation of the airplane with known intermittent deficiencies of the electric pitch trim switch, resulting in a mis-trim condition of the airplane (nose-up), and subsequent hard landing on the nose landing gear causing it to collapse. A factor in the accident was the failure of the electric pitch trim switch to return to the neutral position after being disengaged due to dirt/grime.

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