FTW02LA165
FTW02LA165

On May 18, 2002, approximately 1830 central daylight time, a Piper, PA-46-350P single-engine airplane, N529TX, was substantially damaged following a collapse of the nose landing gear during the landing roll on runway 35 at the Palestine Municipal Airport, near Palestine, Texas. The airplane, registered to LAWTX Travel, Inc., of Houston, Texas, was operated by the owner/pilot under Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The instrument rated private pilot and his two passengers were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the cross-country flight and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed and activated. The personal flight departed Houston, Texas, approximately 1730.

The 1,428-hour pilot reported that when the nose wheel made contact with the runway, he felt a "hard bump followed by a violent jerking motion to the left." The airplane departed the runway, and came to rest parallel to the runway with the right wing tip adjacent to the left edge of the runway. The following day, the airplane was moved to a hangar at the airport.

The FAA inspector and the manufacturer's representative examined and documented the damage sustained by the airplane. The bottom side of the engine cowling, the engine air inlet, and the nose landing gear doors exhibited scrapes. The propeller tips were curled with scratches on the outboard 8-10 inches. Removal of the engine cowling and examination of the engine mount revealed that the right side of the nose gear actuator aft attach point had separated from the tube cluster on the engine mount assembly. The actuator was found pushed aft into the firewall. A section of the firewall approximately 3 X 12 inches, located aft of the nose landing gear actuator, was crushed upward and aft into the forward baggage compartment. According to the manufacturer's representative engineer, the structural integrity at the base of the engine mount was compromised and would require major repair."

Photographs and stereoscopic magnification of the separated surface of the nose gear actuator aft attach point showed signatures consistent with overload. On April 22, 2002, Service Bulletin (SB) No. 1103 was issued by the manufacturer for inspection and/or replacement of the engine mount due to previous findings of cracks on the engine mount in the area of the nose gear actuator attachment points. The SB had not been performed on the accident airplane; however, the owner/pilot reported that it was scheduled to be performed at the next scheduled maintenance visit.


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