On May 19, 2001, about 1445 Pacific daylight time, an experimental Bennett Glastar single engine airplane, N214GS, was substantially damaged when it nosed over after a hard landing at the Alta Sierra private airport near Grass Valley, California. The commercial pilot and his passenger received minor injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight, and a flight plan had not been filed. The local flight originated from Auburn, California, and was destined for Alta Sierra. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The pilot was returning to Alta Sierra after a local flight to Auburn for refueling. According to the pilot's written statement, they were approaching the south end of runway 01 when he reduced engine power for landing. He reported that at the same time, the flight "experienced an extreme downdraft and fell vertically onto the runway at the [runway] numbers." The pilot attempted to apply power to arrest the descent rate, but was unable to do so in time, indicating the throttle control was in the full power position at the time the airplane struck the ground.
The airplane bounced back into the air with the right wing "dipping down approximately 20 degrees" and the nose veering to the right. The pilot stabilized the airplane in ground effect and elected to conduct a go-around. He conducted a low pass so a person on the ground could examine the undercarriage, which is when he learned the nose landing gear was bent aft 90 degrees and the right wing was bent down approximately 20 degrees. The pilot landed the airplane a second time, and it skidded approximately 350 feet before veering off the side of the runway, where it nosed over. The airplane came to rest inverted.
At 1455, the Beale Air Force Base (BAB) weather observation facility, located 18 miles west of the accident site, reported the wind from the northwest at 14 knots with gusts to 23 knots. According to the pilot, the Alta Sierra airport did not have weather reporting capabilities.
The pilot built the experimental airplane and had flown it 32.2 hours. The pilot reported having logged a total of 1,178.6 hours of flight time. In the submitted Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1/2), under the section titled, "Recommendations (How Could This Accident Have Been Prevented)," the pilot responded with, "possibly by landing with additional power and airspeed."