SEA02LA186
SEA02LA186

On September 28, 2002, approximately 1525 Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA-28-161, N132ND, experienced a hard landing at Spokane International Airport, Spokane, Washington. The flight instructor and his student were not injured, but the aircraft, which is owned and operated by the University of North Dakota, sustained substantial damage. The 14 CFR Part 91 instructional flight, which departed the same location about 25 minutes earlier, was being operated in visual meteorological conditions. No flight plan had been filed. There was no report of an ELT activation.

According to the flight instructor, he told his student to make his landing on the second centerline stripe of the runway. After turning final, the student established a stabilized approach at the correct airspeed, but with a glideslope that would take him passed the desired second stripe touchdown point. Because runway length was not a critical factor, the instructor decided to let the student continue on the higher than desired glideslope so that he would learn that it would take him past the desired point of touchdown. Reportedly, when the aircraft was still about 20 feet above the runway surface, the student reduced the power to idle and started to flare prematurely, and the aircraft ultimately leveled off about 10 feet above the runway. The instructor then advised the student that they were too high, and that if they landed from that height "...it would be rough." The student therefore added power (about one-quarter throttle) and lowered the nose in order to descend to a point closer to the runway. Soon after starting to make this adjustment, the student flared a second time, and the aircraft fell to the runway surface from an altitude that was still too high. As the aircraft began to fall toward the runway, the instructor reached for the throttle in order to initiate a go-around, but just as he made contact with it, the aircraft impacted the runway with sufficient force to result in substantial damage. At that point, the instructor took control of the aircraft, completed the landing sequence, and then taxied to an area where the aircraft could be checked for damage.

According to the instructor, there was no indication of any problem with the engine or flight control system that would have contributed to the accident, and the FAA Inspector who looked at the aircraft did not find evidence of any such anomaly.

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