On July 28, 2002, about 1800 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-28-235, N15442, was substantially damaged while landing at Kelleys Island Airport (89D), Kelleys Island, Ohio. The certificated commercial pilot, pilot rated passenger, and another passenger were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The pilot reported that after a 15-20 minute local flight, he returned to 89D. While approaching runway 27, the airplane encountered a severe downdraft. The pilot added full power, and the pilot rated passenger/owner took control of the airplane, but the left main gear struck a rock prior to the runway. The airplane then bounced onto the runway, spun 180 degrees, and came to rest off the left side of the runway. The pilot further stated that when he positioned the throttle full forward, the engine did not respond immediately, but it did go to full power. However, when asked if there was something wrong with the engine, the pilot stated, "no, there was a few second delay like when you step on the gas pedal in a car."

Examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed damage to the left main gear and wing spar.

The pilot reported that the winds at 89D, at 1740, were from the west at 14 knots, gusting to 24 knots. The reported wind at an airport about 15 miles southeast, at 1753, was from 230 degrees at 12 knots, with no gusts. Additionally, the reported wind at National Data Center Buoy, located about 7 miles northwest, at 1800, was from 244 degrees at 15 knots, gusting to 17 knots.

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