On March 26, 1997, at 1830 central standard time, an experimental Rochette Rans S-12 XL, N102EY, sustained substantial damage when it landed hard and hit a runway marker sign after it veered off the runway. The private pilot and passenger were not injured. The 14 CFR Part 91 flight departed Hays Municipal Airport, Hays, Kansas, on a local flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed.

The pilot/owner of the experimental airplane reported that he had recently completed building the airplane. He reported that he a total of three hours of flight time in the airplane. He reported that he had registered the aircraft with the Federal Aviation Administration but had not attached the "N" number to the aircraft yet.

The pilot/owner reported that he was receiving a check ride from a instructor pilot who was familiar with the Rans S-12XL. However, when the passenger was questioned whether he had acted as an instructor pilot, he reported that he was not giving instruction in the aircraft, but was only a passenger. He reported that the pilot was an experienced private pilot and that he was not giving him any instruction.

The pilot/owner reported that he was practicing a no flap landing. He crossed the runway threshold at 55 miles per hour, but with a "fast sink rate." He added power and flared, but landed hard. The airplane skidded off the runway and hit a runway sign.

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