CEN09LA173
CEN09LA173

On February 23, 2009 at 1644 mountain standard time, a Piper PA-31T, N171AF, registered to and operated by Aero Oro LLC and piloted by an airline transport pilot, was substantially damaged when the right propeller struck the runway and the airplane began porpoising before landing hard at Pueblo Memorial Airport (PUB), Pueblo, Colorado. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The positioning flight was being conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 without a flight plan. The pilot, the sole occupant aboard, was not injured. The positioning flight originated at Colorado Springs, Colorado, approximately 1620, and was en route to PUB.

The pilot said that while en route, he obtained ATIS (Automatic Terminal Information) Information Alpha that reported moderate to strong westerly and gusty winds. A Low Level Wind Sheer (LLWS) Advisory was also in effect. He maneuvered the airplane for an extended right base to runway 26R, and configured the airplane for landing. Due to the reported winds and advisory, he elected to approach 5 to 10 knots faster, or approximately 135 to 140 KIAS (knots indicated airspeed). The approach and decent were "normal," and he made several power changes to maintain airspeed and rates of decent consistent with the reported wind conditions. As he flared for landing, he thought he saw something on the runway. There was a sudden loss of lift, and he adjusted the pitch slightly up to compensate. The touchdown was "unusually hard" and the airplane bounced. The airplane then became hard to control in the pitch and yaw axes, porpoising "violently" 4 or 5 times before he was able to keep it on the ground and exit the runway.

Post-accident inspection revealed the right wing was buckled, some engine mounts were broken, the cowling was wrinkled, and the engine was drooping from its mounts. Airport personnel drove the length of the runway but found no debris.

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