LAX07CA070
LAX07CA070

On December 31, 2006, about 1930 mountain standard time, a Piper PA-28-180, N7769W, had the nose gear collapse when it veered off the runway at Jackpot, Nevada. Hinkle Aviation was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The private pilot and three passengers were not injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. The cross-country personal flight departed Caldwell, Idaho, about 1800, with a planned destination of Jackpot. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan had been filed. The approximate global positioning system (GPS) coordinates of the primary wreckage were 41 degrees 58 minutes north latitude and 114 degrees 39 minutes west longitude.

The pilot submitted a written report. He received flight following from Salt Lake Center. About 5 miles from Jackpot, they terminated service. The pilot asked if there were any NOTAMS (Notice to Airmen) for Jackpot, and they said that there were none.

The pilot called his positions throughout the landing pattern on the UNICOM frequency. As he approached the ground, he noticed that only half or less of the runway pavement was showing. The rest looked like it had thin packed snow; he said that it was hard to judge if it was loose or packed and how deep it was. He landed on the visible pavement, which was about 20 to 25 feet wide, and lightly applied the brakes. The airplane pulled to the right, and he countered with left rudder. The right main touched the snow, and the airplane veered sharply right and off the runway. The airplane encountered terrain; the nose wheel sheared off, and the cabin buckled aft of the firewall.

The pilot stated that the snow was loosely packed, and about 6 inches deep. He had landed on packed snow and ice on previous occasions without difficulty. He had never landed on loose snow that thick. He stated that if there had been a NOTAM or UNICOM operator on duty to advise him of the runway conditions, he would have returned home.

The National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge notified the FAA communications center, which had a Flight Service Station issue a NOTAM regarding the runway conditions, and the damaged airplane off the side of the runway.

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