FTW98LA106
FTW98LA106

On January 24, 1998, at 1315 mountain standard time, a Piper PA-32RT-300, N376AA, operated by Flight Training Center, Watkins, Colorado, sustained substantial damage to the right wing and tail cone during landing at Taos, New Mexico. The private pilot and his 5 passengers were not injured and a VFR flight plan was filed for this personal flight operating under Title 14 CFR Part 91. The flight originated from Front Range Airport, Watkins, Colorado, with an en route passenger stop at Fort Collins, Colorado, Visual Meteorological conditions prevailed.

According to the pilot, he conducted a visual approach to runway 22 with the wind reported by UNICOM to be from 220 degrees magnetic at 3 to 6 knots. (The AWOS reported wind was from 290 degrees at 4 knots). The pilot said he used 90 knots as his approach speed and the aircraft ballooned in the flare and appeared to him to veer to the left with the nose pitching up. The pilot reported he considered a "go around" but decided against it due to low speed and power. The pilot stated he "felt something was wrong with the right landing gear" so he cut power and "rode out" the landing using left rudder and aileron to control direction and keep the right wing level. He said the airplane went off the side of the runway and came to a stop in the dirt. He said he cut the "mixture, fuel, and master," and he and his passengers exited the aircraft.

According to the attached report by the FAA Inspector who went on scene, a witness, and the witness marks on the runway, the approach was to runway 4. The witness said the aircraft landed hard and went off the left side of the runway and bounced four times before the right main landing gear failed. The witness marks provided evidence the aircraft came to rest 20 feet beyond the departure end of runway 4 and the aircraft provided evidence the right main landing gear failed in the aft direction.

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