NTSB Identification: WPR11CA425
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, September 02, 2011 in Gerlach, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/03/2011
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-180, registration: N7303W
Injuries: 1 Minor,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 stated that he was flying the airplane over a large open desert playa. He decided to land after flying low over the surface to determine if he could make a safe landing. The surface appeared to be flat and dry. Upon touching down, the landing gear dug into the about 8-inch deep soft tufa. The airplane cartwheeled, resulting in separation of the left wing and bending and wrinkling the left horizontal stabilizer. The left side of the fuselage, the engine mount, and the firewall were also bent and wrinkled.

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

The pilot’s decision to land at an unknown off-airport location.

Full narrative available

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