ATL02LA028
ATL02LA028

On December 29, 2001, at 1130 eastern standard time, an unregistered Pioneer 85 airplane, operating as a 14 CFR part 91 personnel flight, crashed on landing at a private strip in Lajas, Puerto Rico. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan filed. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The private pilot and one passenger reported minor injuries. The flight originated from Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, at 1100.

According to the pilot, he experience a strong gust of wind from the south east within 2 or 3 miles from the Lajas Agricultural Airport. He applied aileron and rudder to put the airplane back on course. He announced his position on frequency 122.9, and received a faint and broken response giving wind information. "At that time we experienced another gust in which I had to apply full left aileron and rudder to correct the course. I decided to land instead of overlying the field as we crossed the fence line next to the field we were hit by a strong downdraft. I applied full power & pulled on the elevator & immediately after impacted to the left side of the runway. I believe that because I had full power at impact the airplane bounced & inverted."

The nearest weather reporting facility at the time of the accident was Eugenio Maria de Hostos Airport, Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. The 1150 surface weather observation was: 4,000 , visibility 10 miles, temperature 86 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point temperature 72 degrees Fahrenheit, wind 080-degrees at 5 knots, and altimeter 30.04. There were no reported gusts or wind shear and visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident.

Examination of the a crash site by the FAA revealed the airplane collided with the ground hard on the nose gear separating the nose gear. The pilot applied max power, lost control, hit the top of the hangar, and crashed upside down. Examination of the airframe and flight control system revealed no evidence of a precrash mechanical failure or malfunction. Further examination of the flight control system revealed the plastic brackets that hold the control stick in place were broken during the hard landing resulting in a total loss of directional control of the flight control system. Review of aircraft records revealed the airplane was operating without an annual inspection. The airplane had not been registered and did not have an airworthiness certificate. In addition the pilot was operating the airplane without a current biennial flight review.

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