DEN99LA150
DEN99LA150

On August 17, 1999, approximately 1615 mountain daylight time, a Piper PA-28-181, N8262S, was substantially damaged during two hard landings at Bolinder Field-Tooele Valley Airport, Tooele, Utah. The airline transport pilot certificated flight instructor and student pilot were not injured. The instructional flight was being conducted under Title 14 CFR Part 91, and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from Salt Lake City International Airport, Salt Lake City, Utah, 30 minutes before the accident. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed.

According to the instructor, he and his student were performing touch and go landings on runway 34. During the first landing, the student was at the controls and "bounced a medium hard landing." The instructor stated that he took control of the aircraft and briefed the student on proper touchdown procedures. They continued in the traffic pattern and performed another touch and go landing. The student was at the controls and during the second landing, he "hit a little hard again." A witness on the ground observed that N8262S's landing gear was damaged, and notified the instructor via the airport's UNICOM (Universal Integrated Communication) frequency. According the instructor, he discontinued the lesson and took the controls. The instructor performed a low pass over the runway, and another witness confirmed that the right main landing gear was bent aft approximately 10 degrees.

The instructor made the decision to return to the Salt Lake City airport where emergency ground crews would be available. During the flight back to Salt Lake City, he was able to view the right wing strut from the cockpit and noticed that it was bent. He notified the airport that the aircraft's landing gear would most likely fail during landing. The instructor performed an emergency landing on runway 35. He landed the aircraft on its left side, then slowly lowered the right landing gear onto the runway. As the aircraft rolled out, the right landing gear bent aft and separated from the airplane. The aircraft came to rest on its right side, resting on the right wing.

In the instructor's accident report, he stated that he believed that the aircraft's right landing gear strut had metal fatigue prior to the accident. However, according to several FAA inspectors who visually inspected the aircraft following the accident, no evidence of fatigue failure was found.

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