On April 17, 1993, at about 1235 hours MST, a Cessna 320, N5711X, ground looped on landing and collapsed the nose and right main landing gear at Mesa, Arizona. The aircraft was owned and operated by John T. Rooney of Mesa, Arizona. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the operation. The aircraft incurred substantial damage. Neither the certificated commercial pilot nor his one passenger were injured. The flight originated at Falcon Field, Mesa, Arizona, on the day of the mishap at about 1130 hours as a planned flight to Payson, Arizona.

The pilot was interviewed by telephone on April 21, 1993. He stated that after arriving in the Payson area, he extended the landing gear and immediately experienced a jammed rudder control system. The pilot said he retracted the landing gear and the problem went away. Instead of completing the planned landing at Payson, the pilot said that he returned to Mesa where crash fire rescue equipment was available. After arrival in the Mesa area, another aircraft came up and examined the aircraft.

The pilot of the other aircraft, N4572A, reported that the nose landing gear was cocked 90 degrees to the right. The pilot declared an emergency and landed on runway 4R at Falcon Field, Mesa, Arizona. When the nose landing gear touched down, the aircraft ground looped to the right and collapsed the nose and right main landing gear.

The aircraft was examined by an FAA airframe and power plant mechanic. According to his report of the examination, the right hand steering spring was found separated from the steering yoke and laying along the right side of the nose gear well. The left side steering spring was intact and attached to the steering yoke assembly. The pin, washer and cotter pin which attach the right hand steering spring to the yoke assembly was not located. The mechanic noted that he found no evidence of impact damage to the yoke or spring.

Review of the aircraft maintenance records revealed that the nose gear assembly was replaced in October of 1991, about 200 hours prior to the accident.

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