ATL97LA070
ATL97LA070

On May 1, 1997, about 1500 central daylight time, a Eugene Clements Pulsar, N1710E, experienced a nose gear collapse during landing on runway 35 at the Indianola Municipal Airport, Indianola, Mississippi. The airplane was operated by the owner/builder/pilot under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91, and visual flight rules. A flight plan was not filed for the personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The commercial pilot sustained minor injuries, and the homebuilt airplane was substantially damaged. The flight originated at 1455.

This was the maiden flight for the airplane. The pilot reported that he previously had several hours of taxi time on the airplane. The pilot reported that the airplane was left wing heavy on takeoff. After climbing to 2,500 feet, it was clear to the pilot that the condition was not improving, so he returned to land. The pilot decided to maintain extra speed on landing to compensate for the left turning tendency. The pilot stated he attempted to land on the right side of the runway, but as he did the airplane veered left and drifted off of the runway. It collided with a runway light and the ground. The airplane came to rest back on the runway. The pilot reported that he had zero flight hours within the last 90 days.

A witness reported that the battery was "dead" and the airplane had to be "jump started" so the flight could proceed. He stated the airplane initially banked left on takeoff, but it straightened out and realigned with the runway. After it climbed "fairly high", it returned to land at the airport. He stated the airplane appeared to be "too fast to land". The airplane touched down, lifted off, touched down, lifted off, and touched down for the third time. On the last touchdown, the airplane landed on the nose wheel. The nose wheel collapsed, and the airplane veered off the left side of the runway. After sliding about 80 feet, the airplane came to rest on the runway.

Another witness confirmed that the airplane bounced multiple times while landing, then landed on the nose gear, collapsing it. The airplane then slid off the left side of the runway.

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