LAX00LA182
LAX00LA182

On May 2, 2000, at 1435 hours Pacific daylight time, an experimental Fox Long EZ, N7FS, was substantially damaged during a main landing gear collapse on landing at Fallon Municipal Airport, Fallon, Nevada. The private pilot and one passenger were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight, which was operated by Mountain West Equities, Inc., under 14 CFR Part 91. The flight originated from Truckee, California, exact time unknown, and no flight plan was filed.

The pilot reported to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector that his approach to runway 21 (5,703 feet x 75 feet) was normal. The surface wind was approximately from 260 degrees at 15 knots. After touching down near the threshold on the main landing gear, the aircraft lifted off the runway to a height of 20-25 feet agl and drifted laterally off the runway. The pilot initiated a go-around and attempted to correct the flight path back over the runway; however, the aircraft touched down a second time in soft sand off the runway shoulder and the main gear collapsed. The aircraft then skidded down the runway on its belly.

In a later report to the same FAA inspector, the pilot speculated that the accident was, in part, attributable to an earlier, improper repair of the fiberglass main landing gear leg that left the leg in a weakened condition. According to the pilot, shortly after he acquired the aircraft from the previous owner, he noted that the right-hand main gear leg was deformed outward; a discrepancy attributed to brake overheating and weakening of the fiberglass leg. The deformed gear leg had been reheated and realigned by a person who represented to the pilot that he was an expert in fiberglass repairs. After the accident, a different mechanic told him that this reheating weakened the fiberglass to the extent that it failed prematurely during his off-runway touchdown.

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