On September 28, 1998, at 1047 mountain daylight time, a Cessna 551, N59GB, owned and operated by Ram Air Sales and Leasing, LLC, was substantially damaged during landing at Pueblo Memorial Airport, Pueblo, Colorado. The private pilot and his three passengers were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and an IFR flight plan had been filed for the personal flight conducted under Title 14 CFR Part 91. The flight originated at Traverse City, Michigan, at 0900 eastern daylight time.

According to the pilot's accident report, he was landing on runway 8L (10,496 ft. X 150 ft., asphalt). He said the landing was normal. He pushed the nose forward and was in the process of deploying the thrust reversers when the front of the airplane began to "veer and then oscillate up and down." The airplane felt "very stiff up front as if [it] had hit something." The airplane became airborne and touched down again, then veered off the runway. The fuselage and both wings sustained internal damage. The nose gear was destroyed.

Control tower personnel told an FAA inspector that it appeared to them that the pilot had made a "hard landing." Post-accident inspection disclosed no objects or debris on the runway.

The pilot, Michael Roberts, recalled that another pilot had inadvertently taxied the airplane off the runway at Traverse City and had become mired in mud. He said the incident had occurred about one year before the accident. Mr. Roberts said a cable had been wrapped around the nose wheel strut by the retrieval crew and the airplane winched out of the mud. He said the steering had not been the same since that incident. A review of the airplane maintenance records revealed no entries made as a result of this excursion.

The shimmy dampner was removed from examination and testing. Accident damage precluded an assessment of its proper operating condition.

The airplane was equipped with a cockpit voice recorder (CVR). It was removed and shipped to NTSB's laboratory for readout. According to the CVR specialist who listened to the tape, nothing was heard that would have added to or clarified what the pilot reported.

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