On January 29, 2004, about 1900 Pacific standard time, a Piper, PA-28-161, N28385, undershot the runway and collided with terrain while landing at Placerville Airport (PVF), Placerville, California. Horizon Aviation Flying School, Inc., owned and operated the airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The certified flight instructor (CFI) and student pilot were not injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan had not been filed. The instructional, local area flight departed Auburn Municipal Airport (AUN), Auburn, California, about 1900.

During a telephone interview with the National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge (IIC), the CFI stated that the student pilot was flying an approach to runway 05 at PVF. It was a bright night and the student was practicing night flying. While on final approach, the VASI (visual approach slope indicator) lighting indications denoted that airplane was below the glide path. The student attempted a go-around by adding full power. The airplane's main gear collided with a berm located before the runway. The airplane bounced and the ELT (emergency locator transmitter) became activated.

The CFI turned the ELT to the off position and took control of the airplane. After testing the airplane's controllability, he determined it was in "flyable" condition and elected to return to AUN. He made a normal approach and started his rollout solely on the nose wheel. About 1,000 feet down the runway, the struts of the main gear made contact with the asphalt. Although the airplane did not have any brakes, the airplane came to rest about three quarters of the way down the runway. After exiting the airplane, he noticed that the left main landing gear was sheered off, and the right main landing gear was still attached, but dangling from the strut. The CFI did not report any mechanical malfunctions with the airplane prior to the accident.

An airframe and powerplant mechanic (A&P) assessed the damage that the airplane incurred during the accident. He stated that the airplane sustained damage to the left flap control surface, the underside and several ribs on the left wing, and the complete main landing gear assembly.

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