MIA97LA218
MIA97LA218

On July 27, 1997, about 1430 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-24-260, N9396P, coregistered to private individuals, landed short during a precautionary landing shortly after takeoff from the Mountain Air Airport, a private airstrip near Burnsville, North Carolina. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight. The airplane was substantially damaged and the commercial-rated pilot and two passengers were not injured. The right front seat passenger sustained minor injuries. The flight originated about 2 minutes earlier.

The pilot stated that before takeoff he failed to check that the main cabin door was closed and latched. Shortly after takeoff his wife in the right front seat noted that the cabin door was ajar. He maneuvered the airplane to return for landing on the opposite direction used for departure. He stated that he became distracted by the perceived emergency and landed about 6 feet short on upsloping terrain. The left main landing gear separated and the airplane bounced onto the runway, veered off the left side of the runway into a 25-feet deep ravine and came to rest upright.

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