On July 10, 1999, at 0800 hours Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 172M, N73113, sustained substantial damage during a hard landing at Sierra Sky Park near Fresno, California. The rented airplane was operated by Central California Aviation, Inc., under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The private pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. The pilot departed Fresno Yosemite International Airport (FAT) about 0745 for a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed.

The pilot stated he flew over the airport and determined the light winds were favorable for landing on runway 30. On final approach he set the flaps to 30 degrees and maintained 68 to 70 knots. About 1/8 mile from the runway, he reduced power to idle. He began his flare over the runway numbers and noted the airplane continued to float over the runway. He stated he gently raised the nose and heard the stall warning horn; however, the airplane continued to float. The airplane dropped onto the main gear, then bounced into the air. The nose gear then touched down and the pilot said he was immediately aware that the nose tire had blown. The airplane bounced into the air again, the pilot added power, kept the control yoke back, settled onto the runway, and stopped. He then taxied to a parking spot.

The operator dispatched a mechanic to replace the nose tire, and that work was completed about 1230. The mechanic informed the pilot the airplane was ready for flight. The pilot departed about 1330 and returned to Fresno. Subsequent inspection revealed the firewall was wrinkled.

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