On November 21, 1999, at 1430 eastern standard time, a Cessna 172XP, N758LR, was substantially damaged during a hard landing to the Phillipi/Barbour County Airport (79D), Phillipi, West Virginia. The certificated private was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight that originated at Morgantown, West Virginia (MGW), approximately 1400. No flight plan was filed for the flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

In a telephone interview, the pilot stated he flew to MGW, serviced the airplane with fuel, and returned to his home airport at Phillipi/Barbour County. He said he entered the traffic pattern for runway 26, performed his base and final turns, and configured the airplane for landing. The pilot said that on short final, he began his level off and flare prematurely. He said:

"I just ballooned high and had a hard landing. That's all there is to it."

In a telephone interview, a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Aviation Safety Inspector said the airplane sustained damage to the propeller, nose gear, and firewall. He said the flight control tunnels aft of the firewall were crushed and prevented the movement of the flight controls.

When questioned about the performance of the airplane, the pilot said, "It was performing very well. No problems."

The pilot purchased the airplane November 6, 1999. An annual inspection was performed on the airplane prior to its purchase on October 5, 1999.

The pilot reported 143 hours of flight experience, of which 7 hours were in the Cessna 172.

Winds reported at Clarksburg, West Virginia, 10 miles northwest of 79D, were from 240 degrees at 7 knots.

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