FTW96LA154
FTW96LA154

On March 24, 1996, at 1130 central standard time, a Piper PA-38-112, N9385T, registered to a private owner, and operated by RFB Flying Service under Title 14 CFR Part 91, was substantially damaged during an attempted landing at Slidell Airport, Slidell, Louisiana. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed for the personal flight. The private pilot was not injured. The flight originated from Lakefront Airport, New Orleans, Louisiana, about 15 minutes before the accident.

In an interview with the FAA inspector, the pilot reported that when the aircraft descended below the trees that were located about 300 feet to the left of runway 18, the aircraft was "blown into the ground." According to the FAA inspector the winds at Slidell Airport were from 120 degrees at 15 gusting to 22 knots.

The pilot reported in the Pilot/Operator Report that when the aircraft was at tree level and at an airspeed of 80 knots, "wind shear" was encountered. The wind "shoved the aircraft to the left and to the ground."

According to the FAA inspector, the aircraft was overtaking a landing aircraft. The pilot performed a series of low altitude (100 to 150 feet) "S" turns to increase the distance between his aircraft and the aircraft in front of him. According to witnesses, these "S" turns were at a "very high angle of bank."

Examination of the aircraft by the FAA inspector revealed that the left wing was partially separated, and the left main landing gear and nose landing gear were folded under the fuselage. The right main landing gear was also damaged, and the aft fuselage was wrinkled. Control continuity was established to all flight controls.

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