On January 18, 1997, about 1300 Alaska standard time, a wheel equipped Maule M-5 airplane, N5654N, sustained substantial damage while landing at the Birchwood Airport, Chugiak, Alaska. The private certificated pilot and two passengers aboard were not injured. The local, 14 CFR Part 91 flight operated in visual meteorological conditions without a flight plan.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration inspector who interviewed the pilot and passengers, the accident airplane was on consignment for sale with one of the passengers, Mr. Lawrence Weiss. Mr. Weiss is the owner of Birchwood Aviation, and is also a private pilot. The pilot was a potential buyer of the airplane, and the purpose of the flight was for a prepurchase flight evaluation. The flight proceeded without incident until the landing attempt on runway 19. The airplane touched down short of the runway, rolled a short distance, and then nosed over.

The NTSB investigator-in-charge spoke with the pilot-rated passenger, Mr. Weiss, on January 18. Mr. Weiss related essentially the same information as the FAA inspector. He stated he initially flew the airplane during the takeoff from Birchwood, and then relinquished control of the airplane to the first pilot. The first pilot returned to the Birchwood Airport for a landing on runway 19. Mr. Weiss related he was communicating on the radio, announcing their intention to land on runway 19 on the common traffic advisory frequency. He said the first pilot was flying the airplane. Mr. Weiss said the first pilot touched down just short of the landing threshold, the main landing gear wheels sank in the snow, and the airplane nosed over.

A written statement submitted by the first pilot (attached), essentially reiterates information provided by the FAA inspector and the pilot-rated passenger.

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