On November 6, 1996, at 1114 hours Pacific standard time, a Mikoyan Gurevich MIG 15UTI, N271JM, landed hard in a soft dirt field short of runway 3 at the Fallon, Nevada, airport. Following touchdown in the field, the landing gear collapsed and the aircraft slid onto the runway. The aircraft, owned by Evergreen Ventures, Inc., sustained substantial damage. The airline transport pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions existed for the positioning flight that departed Page, Arizona, as a nonstop flight to the Reno/Stead airport, Reno, Nevada. A visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan was filed with the company.

The pilot previously reported this as minor damage. Further investigation by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors from the Reno Flight Standards District Office determined that the aircraft sustained substantial damage, and the accident was reported to the Safety Board on March 16, 1998.

The pilot reported that he was to position the aircraft from Pinal, Arizona, to Portland, Oregon. Before departure from Pinal, it was found that the VHF radio was inoperative and a hand-held radio had to be "rigged" for communications. A radio check was completed and the first leg of the flight to Page was completed without further incident. The second leg of the flight from Page to Reno was 459 nautical miles, and the pilot determined that there would be enough fuel onboard to complete the flight without any difficulty.

The pilot reported that the fuel system on the Mig 15 does not indicate fuel remaining until approximately 640 liters remain in the main tank. He stated that the winds aloft had been stronger than expected and the fuel gage began to indicate a decrease in the main fuel tank. He timed the consumption rate and determined that it was higher than expected and decided to make a precautionary landing at the Fallon, Nevada, airport to refuel.

The pilot reported that while monitoring CTAF he heard a Cessna broadcast his departure. When the Cessna was on downwind, he advised the Cessna of his intentions and requested to land in front of the Cessna. He stated that the pilot of the Cessna agreed to his request, and he set up his base leg with all prelanding checks completed. This included gear and flaps down and extension of airbrakes. The pilot stated that he rolled out on final at 150 knots and started to add power. The Cessna reported his position to the pilot. After locating the Cessna, the pilot reported that he spent "some time groping for the transmit switch on the hand-held radio . . ." to inform the other pilot that he had him insight.

The pilot reported that he checked his airspeed indicator, which had dropped to 120 knots. He applied the throttle and waited for the engine to respond. The airspeed decreased to 110 knots and the engine had not responded yet. He stated that the aircraft was approaching a nose high attitude when it contacted the ground approximately 200 feet short of the threshold. The nose gear collapsed and the aircraft came to rest on the runway. The pilot stated that he was distracted looking for the other aircraft and operating the portable radio.

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