LAX97LA111
LAX97LA111

On February 24, 1997, at 1000 hours Pacific standard time, a Piper PA-28-236, N4341M, porpoised on landing and veered off runway 30 at the Palo Alto, California, airport. The aircraft sustained substantial damage, and the pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions existed for the personal flight and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from San Jose, California airport at 0940.

The pilot reported that maintenance personnel had been asked to check the right brake because it was ". . .extremely soft. Maintenance reported that they had flown the aircraft several times and had no trouble with the brake." The pilot stated that on taxi he noticed that the right brake was still ". . .extremely soft but that it worked if pumped up." The pilot reported that the landing was normal, but during the landing rollout the aircraft drifted to the left. "I made the decision to go around and went full power with right rudder. The aircraft continued to drift left as I applied power and exited the runway. . .after landing I observed both wind socks straight out but at different angles with respect to the runway. I perceived the wind to be at 15+ KIAS with gusts at 20+ KIAS perpendicular to runway heading."

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) controller on duty at the time reported the winds were from 010 degrees at 15 knots. The controller observed the aircraft bounce on touchdown, become airborne again, then porpoise down runway 30 three times with each bounce increasing in amplitude. On the third bounce, the nose gear collapsed and the aircraft slid off the left side of the runway. An FAA inspector from San Jose stated that she observed marks on the landing runway and the grassy area where the airplane came to rest. Flight control and engine continuity were established on scene with no evidence of a brake malfunction or other anomalies noted.

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