On April 20, 2002, at 1545 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-34-220T, N92721, piloted by a student pilot, was damaged during a wheels-up landing on runway 36 (5,700 feet by 75 feet, dry/asphalt) at the Kirsch Municipal Airport, Sturgis, Michigan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the incident. The instructional flight was operating under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 without a flight plan. The flight examiner and student pilot did not report any injuries. The flight departed the W.K. Kellogg Airport, Battle Creek, Michigan, at 1450.

The purpose of the flight was to complete a Joint Aviation Authority (JAA) skill test for the issuance of JAA commercial pilot license. The flying-pilot was a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certificated student pilot. The pilot-in-command for the skill test was a JAA flight examiner who held a FAA Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate. The JAA is an associated body of the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) representing the civil aviation regulatory authorities of a number of European States who have agreed to co-operate in developing and implementing common safety regulatory standards and procedures.

According to a written statement provided by the flight examiner, while on final approach the student pilot verbally completed the landing checklist including verifying that the mixture controls were full rich, the propeller controls were full forward, and the landing gear position lights were green. The flight examiner stated that, "I did not check the 3 green lights myself." The flight examiner reported that during the flare the airplane floated longer than normal and then settled onto the runway.

According to a written statement provided by the student pilot, she verbally completed the landing checklist and, "... failed to see that there were not 3 green lights." The student pilot stated that during landing she heard the tail scraping and saw one of the propellers impact the runway.

The airplane was hoisted off the ground and when the landing gear selector handle was placed in the gear-down position the landing gear extended without any anomalies. No anomalies were found with the landing gear system that could be associated with a pre-impact condition.

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