On August 10, 1999, about 1100 Eastern Daylight Time, a Piper PA-34-200T Seneca II, N31743, was substantially damaged during a hard landing at Chatham Municipal Airport (CQX), Chatham, Massachusetts. The certificated private pilot was uninjured, and visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. No flight plan was filed for the flight between Danbury Municipal Airport (DXR), Danbury, Connecticut, and Chatham. The personal flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to the pilot's written statement, he was making an approach to Runway 06, and everything was normal until the flare, when "it felt like a powerful hand pushed me straight down. We were NOT in a stall. Although I can't be sure, I feel it must have been a powerful downdraft wind gust. I went down hard on the main gear, up into the air, down hard on all the gear, up again, and down onto the nose gear."

A witness stated that the "weather was good, wind was light with some wind gusts. When the [landing] gear was 3-5 feet above [the] runway, [the] plane dropped suddenly, landing on two main gear first, then the nose immediately after. The plane jumped up 2-3 feet, landed on [the] nose gear hard, then main gear, then back into the air 2 to 3 feet. The plane then landed again on the nose gear hard, then main gear and stayed down."

Weather at the approximate time of the accident included no ceiling, visibility 10 statute miles, and winds from 360 degrees magnetic, at 5 knots. The pilot stated that two single-engine airplanes were in the pattern ahead of him, and landed without difficulty.

The pilot received his multi-engine rating the day before the accident. At the time, he had about 230 hours of total flight time, and 78 hours in the accident airplane.

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