On December 21, 1997, about 1430 hours Pacific standard time, a Piper PA24-260, N8805P, landed short while on approach to the Healdsburg Municipal Airport near Healdsburg, California. The aircraft sustained substantial damage; however, neither the pilot nor his flight instructor rated passenger was injured. The aircraft was being operated as a personal flight by Aeroventure Clubs, Inc., when the accident occurred. The flight last departed Virgil O. Parrett Field in Angwin, California, about 1400. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed.

The pilot reported that he was making a short field approach to runway 31. He was established on short final with his gear and flaps extended. He had increased his airspeed to about 5 mph above the recommended approach speed due to blowing winds. As the aircraft descended through 30 feet agl, he encountered what he described as a wind shear condition. He applied power and increased back pressure but was unable to stay airborne. The aircraft landed hard about 15 to 20 feet short of the runway. The nose gear collapsed and the aircraft slid to a stop.

According to a designated pilot examiner, the pilot had failed his initial commercial flight test 6 days earlier. During his short field approach, he had been too high, too fast, and had landed too long to meet the flight test guide standards. Although his passenger was also the instructor who had recommended him for his private, instrument, and commercial flight tests, the pilot denied that he was receiving dual instruction at the time of the accident.

A postaccident inspection of the aircraft revealed that the propeller was bent, the cowling was damaged, and the firewall was buckled. FAA inspectors reported that they found no evidence of mechanical failures or malfunctions.

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