On January 31, 1996, at 1530 eastern standard time (est), a Piper PA-32-301, N800TC, piloted by a private pilot, sustained substantial damage when on landing the airplane departed the runway. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The flight was being conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. No flight plan was on file. The pilot reported no injuries to himself or the passenger on board. The flight originated at Waterloo, Iowa, at 1125 central standard time (cst) and was en route to Marion, Indiana.

In his written statement, the pilot reported that upon landing on runway 33 (3,596' X 100'), the airplane "veered left off the runway. It felt like the left brake was locked up." The pilot applied full right rudder, but he could not prevent the airplane from departing the runway. The airplane went through a ditch off the edge of the runway, and through the field to the crosswind runway. When the airplane's nosewheel contacted the edge of the crosswind runway, "it collapsed." The airplane came to a stop on the crosswind runway.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector examined the airplane in a hangar at Marion Municipal Airport, Marion, Indiana, on February 2, 1996. The examination revealed that the nosewheel had bent rearward under the cowling and was cocked to the right. The firewall and the engine mount had bent down and rearward at the point where the nosewheel strut attaches to the mount. Both propeller blades were also bent. Flight control continuity was confirmed. No anomalies were found in the engine or engine controls. The brakes were tested and functioned normally.

In a telephone interview conducted on February 27, 1996, an airplane and powerplant mechanic for Air Marion, Incorporated, Marion, Indiana, reported that the airplane's brakes functioned normally while towing the airplane from the accident site to the hangar.

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