WPR09LA290
WPR09LA290

On June 11, 2009, about 1222 Pacific daylight time, a Bellanca 14-19 airplane, N6561N, sustained substantial damage when the left main landing gear collapsed on touchdown at the Columbia Airport, Columbia, California. The private pilot and his passenger were not injured. The airplane was registered to, and operated by, the pilot. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal cross-country flight that departed from Jean, Nevada, at 1010.

As the flight approached Columbia Airport, the pilot listened to the airport's automated weather observing system, and according to the pilot, the wind was reported as light and variable. Before landing on runway 17, the pilot confirmed the wind conditions by observing the airport's windsock and tetrahedron. After what the pilot described as a normal "three point landing, aligned with the runway without lateral drift, slightly left of centerline," the airplane suddenly veered to the left. The pilot applied right rudder and right brake with no discernible effect. The left main landing gear collapsed, and the left wing impacted the ground. The airplane continued to the left, exited the runway, and came to a stop in a grassy area.

Examination of the airplane by Federal Aviation Administration inspectors revealed structural damage to the left wing, aileron, and flap. The left main landing gear drag link had separated at the junction of the upper and lower drag links, and the landing gear strut had folded forward. The drag link appeared to be the original part installed during manufacture of the airplane in 1950.

The separated pieces of the left main landing gear drag link were sent to the NTSB Materials Laboratory for examination. Examination of the fracture surfaces revealed that a portion of surface was dark in color and covered with a well-developed corrosion-product film consistent with an older overstress fracture that occurred prior to the accident. The majority of the fracture surfaces did not display corrosion product and were consistent in appearance with newly created overstress fractures.

The pilot reported that a visual inspection of the landing gear and a gear retraction test were performed during the airplane's most recent annual inspection on May 10, 2009. No discrepancies were found. When the accident occurred, the airplane had accumulated 41 flight hours since this annual inspection.

Recorded data from Columbia Airport's automated weather observing system indicated that at 1222, the wind was from 200 degrees at 5 knots.

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