On December 27, 1997, at 1420 mountain standard time, a Piper PA-28-140 airplane, N2343T, registered to and operated by a private individual, collided with a snow bank following a loss of control during the landing roll on runway 24 at the Sierra Blanca Regional Airport near Ruidoso, New Mexico. The airplane sustained substantial damage, and the private pilot and his passenger were not injured. No flight plan was filed and visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the Title 14 CFR Part 91 personal cross country flight that departed San Angelo, Texas, at 1250 central standard time. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
In a written statement provided to the NTSB investigator-in-charge, the pilot reported that at the time of the landing the Automated Weather Observing System (AWOS) at the airport was reporting "winds 290 degrees at 10 gusting to 21." He stated that at an "airspeed of approx. 55-60 mph, both main wheels [were] just on the ground [when] the airplane was pushed to the left by sudden gust." He further stated that there were "unexpected" patches of "icy" snow on the runway, and "the left main gear went into the snow bank (approx. 2 foot deep)." The airplane then turned to the left, "plowed" into the snow, and "came to a stop in approx. 50-60 feet."
The pilot reported to the New Mexico State Police that during the landing roll on the "icy runway, a gust of wind caught the plane and pushed it off the runway and into the snow bound shoulder." According to the log kept by airport personnel, at the time of the accident, the winds were from 280 degrees at 13 knots gusting to 17 knots. The log indicated that the winds 8 minutes after the accident were from 280 degrees at 11 knots gusting to 17 knots, and 41 minutes after the accident, the winds were from 300 degrees at 13 knots gusting to 18 knots.
The FAA inspector who examined the airplane reported that the propeller blades were bent, the leading edges of both wings were damaged, and the left wing appeared to be displaced aft.