On March 6, 1997, at 1410 eastern standard time, a Bellanca 17-30A, N8782V, sustained substantial damage during a hard landing and subsequent loss of control at the Monroe Custer Airport, Monroe, Michigan. The private pilot reported no injuries. The 14 CFR Part 91 flight had departed Pontiac, Michigan, and landed at Monroe, Michigan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed.

The pilot reported that he prepared to land on runway 21. He reported the winds were from 280 degrees at 18 mph gusting to 25 mph. To counter the right crosswind, he applied right aileron and left rudder. He reported that on short final to runway 21, he was established on centerline at 90 to 95 mph. During the flare he reduced power. The pilot reported that when the airplane was about 3 to 5 feet above the runway, it was "slammed" down to the pavement. The pilot maintained right aileron, but the airplane pitched over to the left side of the runway. The airplane departed the runway to the left. It impacted the second row of VASI lights. The pilot reported that the skid marks indicated that full brakes were used. The airplane continued to turn to the left and went into a ditch which paralleled the runway.

The pilot reported that a large stand of trees about 600 feet from the runway to the west created a turbulent wind situation at the approach end of runway 21.

The inspection of the airplane revealed no anomalies to the flight controls or engine.

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