On December 4, 2004, at 1003 Pacific standard time, a Piper PA-28-181, N253FD, collided with a ditch during landing on runway 21 at the Santa Monica Municipal Airport, Santa Monica, California. The privately owned airplane was being operated by Justice Aviation under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The certified flight instructor (CFI) and the student pilot were not injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the instructional flight that originated from the Santa Monica airport at 0830.

According to the CFI, she and the student were executing their last power-off approach. Approximately 2,500 feet down the runway, the airplane continued to float. By the time it touched down, the CFI felt that it was too late to initiate a go-around so she applied the brakes, retracted the flaps, and turned the airplane to the right to avoid a ditch. The CFI also noted that during the landing, the wind shifted to a tailwind, which was not to their advantage. The CFI reported that she encountered no mechanical malfunctions with the airplane. The main spar was damaged when the left landing gear went through the left wing.

According to the Airport/Facility Directory, Southwest U.S., runway 03/21 at the Santa Monica airport is 4,987 feet in length.

An unedited surface weather observation (METAR) was issued for Santa Monica at 0951. The winds were reported from 070 degrees at 6 knots. The following METAR issued at 1051 reported winds from 100 degrees at 7 knots, with directional variations between 070 and 190 degrees.

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