LAX08LA284
LAX08LA284

On August 28, 2008, about 1200 mountain daylight time, a Cessna TR182, N5523T, made a hard landing at Spotted Bear (USFS) Airport, Spotted Bear, Montana. The airplane was substantially damaged, and neither the commercial certificated pilot nor two passengers were injured. The airplane was registered to, and operated by, Minuteman Aviation, Inc., Missoula, Montana. The accident occurred during an on-demand air taxi flight conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135, and a company visual flight rules flight plan was filed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The flight originated from Missoula about 1120.

The pilot indicated to the National Transportation Safety Board investigator that all airplane systems were functioning normally throughout the flight. The pilot stated that he observed the airport's windsock when he flew over the uncontrolled airport and during the approach, but he did not observe it seconds prior to touchdown. The pilot additionally reported that on final approach the airplane's rate of descent was initially normal, but when the airplane was on short final approach its rate of descent rapidly increased. The pilot stated that "about 15 feet above the ground the aircraft seemed to lose all lift." Despite application of engine power, the airplane impacted the runway in a nose low attitude, and the airplane's nose gear collapsed.

After exiting the airplane, the pilot noted that the wind direction was variable and appeared to change direction by nearly 180 degrees. Its speed varied between 5 and 10 knots. The pilot reported that "this accident could have been prevented by adjusting the [airplane's] approach speed" for a possible wind shift.

The accident site and airplane were subsequently examined. The airplane's nose gear strut and wheel assembly were located near the initial point of impact ground scar on the runway. The lower portion of the airplane's firewall was found bent, and belly longerons and skin panels were found distorted from aft of the nose gear wheel well to beneath the baggage compartment door.

No mechanical failures or malfunctions were reported at the time of the accident.

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