On January 28, 1997, at 1500 hours Pacific standard time, a Cessna 172RG, N80138, collided with the surface of runway 25 after the main landing gear collapsed at the Corona, California, municipal airport. The airplane was substantially damaged and the certificated private pilot was not injured. The airplane was rented from the Long Beach Flying Club, Long Beach, California, by the pilot for a personal flight. The flight originated from Long Beach at 1345. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed.

The pilot reported that before departing from Long Beach the "tanks were topped off by request." About 20 minutes into the flight he noticed that the fuel gauges were indicating that the tanks were half full. The pilot reported to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that he elected to land at the Corona Municipal Airport after noticing that the fuel gauges indicated a lower quantity than anticipated. The pilot stated that the airplane was "high and fast, slowed and set down 1/3 or more down the [runway]. May have hit the nose [gear] first, roll out felt normal for awhile then veered to the left and the nose dropped then the prop hit the ground."

Witnesses reported they observed the airplane cross the runway threshold with the landing gear in transit. The airplane touched down with the landing gear not fully extended. The main gear collapsed and the airplane slid off the runway.

The airplane's normal procedure checklist instructs the pilot to check and observe the main gear is down and the green gear down indicator light is illuminated.

The fuel system was drained after the accident. Seventeen gallons were drained from the right tank and 35 gallons were drained from the left tank. Witnesses also reported about 3 gallons were spilled at the accident site.

The landing gear system was checked after the accident by an airframe and powerplant mechanic. The mechanic repaired several hydraulic hoses, one fitting, and replenished the hydraulic fluid. The damage to the components was attributed to the gear collapsing during the landing. No evidence was found of a prelanding mechanical failure or malfunction. The mechanic then performed a functional check of the landing system and reported "all systems operated properly."

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