DEN03LA043
DEN03LA043

On February 15, 2003, at 1601 mountain standard time, a Socata TBM 700, N700GJ, was substantially damaged when it dragged a wing during landing at Aspen-Pitkin County Airport, Aspen, Colorado. The airline transport pilot flight instructor, the private pilot receiving instruction, and their two passengers were not injured. RBL Aviation LLC, of Carlsbad, California, was operating the airplane under Title 14 CFR Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the cross-country flight that originated at approximately 1515 from Centennial Airport, Englewood, Colorado. The pilot was flying under an Instrument Flight Rules flight plan.

The flight instructor said the instrument rated private pilot flew the VOR/DME approach to runway 15, and they broke out of the clouds at approximately 11,500 to 12,000 feet. He said the approach was stabilized at 100 knots with landing gear and flaps in the landing position. "The approach was normal until approximately 100 feet above the runway at which time the airplane encountered a probable wind shear or wake turbulence condition causing rapid-roll tendencies right and left. As the [student] began his landing flare at about 15 feet above the runway the left wing dropped rapidly combined with a sudden high sink rate." At that point the flight instructor said he took control of the airplane, "applying corrective rudder, aileron, pitch and power corrections." Despite the flight instructor's actions, the left wing tip struck the runway.

An airport employee was at the A-2 intersection, 1/4-mile from where the event took place. The employee observed the aircraft, during the landing flare, rise suddenly 6 to 10 feet. The aircraft then banked hard to the left. The employee noted that there were no unusual winds; they were nearly calm.

Winds at the time were reported 310 degrees at 6 knots. The temperature was 2 degrees Celsius. According to weather records, the winds had been variable throughout the day.

Postaccident examination of the left wing revealed that four outboard ribs were bent, an aileron hinge was abraded, the upper wing skin was wrinkled, and the spoiler push rod was bent.

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