On August 3, 1997, about 0815 eastern daylight time, a Champion 7ECA, N4178Y, was substantially damaged while landing at the Easton Airport, Easton, Maryland. The certificated commercial pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight which originated at Anapolis, Maryland, at 1102. No flight plan had been filed for the flight which was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

In the NTSB Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report, the pilot stated:

"...I monitored the AWOS, which reported the winds calm...My intention was to do a full stop landing [runway 04]...I had the stick full back when I landed, and it felt like a proper 3-point landing, with no bounce."

"However, almost immediately aircraft began to swerve to the left. I corrected with right rudder, and the aircraft took a swerve to the right, which became a tightening swerve to the right that I could not control. This whole loss of control happened very quickly. The aircraft exited the runway to the right, completing an almost 180 degree turn. I could feel the landing gear collapsing and saw the left wing scraping the ground. I pulled the mixture and we came to a quick stop in the grass immediately off the runway. I then turned off the master and mags and exited the aircraft. "

"An initial look see at the damage revealed wrinkled fabric on the left wing tip, the left main gear doubled up under the fuselage, and some damage to the under belly fabric...."

The airplane was examined by an airworthiness inspector from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), who stated:

"...The left landing gear attach tube, part number 7-1290-12 was broken at the weld where it attaches to the fuselage tubing. [the structural tubing on this aircraft is square] The tubing contained a weld repair...There was no penetration of the tubing. The break occurred right at the weld seam, not at the adjacent tubing wall...There was no shear lips on approximately half of the broken weld. This same section had corrosion on the fracture face...I reviewed the complete maintenance records for the aircraft and there was no entry for the weld repair. The operator of the aircraft, Fort Meade Army Flying Activity said they had no knowledge of the repair. ..."

A check of FAA records revealed that the airplane was registered to the US Army on April 29, 1995.

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