FTW98LA369
FTW98LA369

On August 13, 1998, at 1415 mountain daylight time, a Piper PA-34-200T, N6935C, was substantially damaged during a wheels up landing at Blanding Municipal Airport, Blanding, Utah. The airline transport rated pilot and two passengers were not injured. The flight was being operated by Scenic Aviation, Inc., as an air medical transport flight under Title 14 CFR Part 135. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated at Flagstaff Pulliam Airport, Flagstaff, Arizona, at 1230.

According to the president of Scenic Aviation, Inc., the pilot advised the company's dispatch office that while attempting to land at Chinle Airport, Chinle, Arizona, the nose landing gear would not extend, and he was diverting to Blanding, Utah, the company's base of operations. All attempts to manually extend the nose landing gear failed. As fire and medical personnel stood by, the pilot landed. The main wheels touched down and as the nose lowered, both propellers struck the ground.

Scenic Airlines maintenance personnel inspected the nose landing gear and determined that the damaged was consistent with a hard landing. The tubular structure at the base of the windscreen was broken through the skin.

Two Scenic Aviation employees later reported having witnessed the hard landing at Chinle Airport. They said the pilot aborted the landing and made a go-around. During the second attempt to land, the nose landing gear failed to extend.

The flight nurse aboard the airplane later corrborated this report. In a written statement, she said "the approach [into Chinle] seemed normal, but as [the aircraft] touched down, there was a tremendous hard hit on the ground. This occurred about three times." She further stated it felt as though the aircraft "was going to flip end over end, but [the pilot] gave it power and was able to get it back into the air." Once airborne, the pilot "circled about Chinle for about 20-30 minutes - making attempts to get the gear down." The pilot then notified her he was going to divert to Blanding.

Based on this discovery, the pilot was terminated. Attempts to contact him were unsuccessful.

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