DEN02LA015
DEN02LA015

On December 18, 2001, approximately 1045 mountain standard time, a Piper PA-28-235, N8704W, operated by Cherokee Flyers, LLC, of Grand Junction, Colorado, was substantially damaged when it collided with terrain following a loss of control while landing at Crested Butte, Colorado. The private pilot and two passengers were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed for the personal flight being conducted under Title 14 CFR Part 91. The flight originated in Grand Junction at 1000.

According to the pilot, runway 29 was covered by a thin layer of snow that had recently been plowed. The airplane touched down, rolled about 10 feet, and began "pulling" to the left. The pilot applied right rudder but to no avail. He applied full right aileron and lifted the left wing to clear an 18-inch snow bank on the side of the runway. The airplane traveled another 100 feet before the left wing lost lift and settled back down to the runway. The airplane "went through snow," spun around, and stopped 20 feet off the side of the runway. The pilot said that after walking along the runway and locating the point of touch down, he noted a skid mark made by the left wheel. He suspected the wheel may have gotten wet while taxiing at Grand Junction and the brake froze. He said the temperature at 12,000 feet was -20 degrees F.

Initial examination of the airplane revealed the nose landing gear had collapsed and the fuselage was wrinkled. When the airplane was retrieved by the salvage firm, it was discovered that both wing spars were twisted and the firewall was buckled.

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