On October 15, 2005, at 1600 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 182B airplane, N2728B, made a hard landing at a private grass airstrip near Mokelumne Hill, California. The commercial pilot, who was the sole occupant, was not injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. The pilot was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 as a personal flight. The local area flight departed from Martel, California, which is located about 8 nautical miles west of the private airstrip, around 1555. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed.

According to the pilot's written statement (provided as part of the Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report; NTSB Form 6120.1/2), the grass airstrip was orientated along a 330-degree path with a stand of trees oriented on the southern end, the tallest of which was about 80 feet. The pilot observed the wind to be from 300 degrees at 8 knots with gusts to 15 knots. He approached the grass strip from the south and established the airplane on final approach at 65 mph and a vertical descent rate of 200 to 300 feet per minute (fpm). On short final, the pilot established the airplane at 60 mph (about 10 mph above stall speed) with 40 degrees of flaps extended.

As the airplane passed the stand of trees, it dropped 10 to 12 feet and landed hard about 90 feet short of the pilot's intended touchdown point. After engine shutdown, the pilot noticed the control column was jammed to the far aft position and locked against the rear of the instrument panel. Post-event examination of the airplane revealed the firewall was displaced aft about 3 inches.

Under the section titled "Recommendation (How Could This Accident Have Been Prevented)" in the NTSB Form 6120.1/2, the pilot indicated he could have flown his approach at a slightly higher airspeed to compensate for the gusty wind conditions.

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