NTSB Identification: ERA09CA213
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, March 20, 2009 in Merritt Island, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/11/2009
Aircraft: PIPER PA32, registration: N81912
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.
NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.
The pilot was performing takeoffs and landings on runway 29 to maintain her currency. During the third landing, the airplane departed the right side of the 75-foot-wide runway. The pilot reported that the rudder pedals were mushy after touchdown, during landing rollout, and that the airplane did not respond to her inputs to the left rudder pedal. However, the left rudder controls and nosewheel steering were operational when the pilot commanded the airplane to turn hard left to return to the runway pavement. Impact with the runway edge collapsed the nose gear. The reported winds at the time of the accident were from 040 degrees at 10 knots. Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed that the airplane received substantial damage to the nose gear, firewall, propeller, and fuselage. No preexisting mechanical deficiencies were identified with the airplane's steering, brakes or flight controls. On a previous flight in the same airplane three months prior to the accident, the pilot reported that the "nose wheel steering seemed squirrely as the airplane veered to the right and rudder pedal inputs were mushy." After that flight, maintenance on the airplane included replacing the left brake pads and tightening the nuts securing the nosewheel. Other pilots who recently flew the accident airplane reported nothing unusual with the nosewheel steering, but that the airplane was a "handful" during landings.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's failure to maintain directional control during the landing roll. Full narrative available
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