WPR10LA207
WPR10LA207

On April 17, 2010, about 1435 mountain daylight time, a Piper PA-22-160 Pacer, N9019D, veered off the runway following a landing gear collapse at Fruitland, Utah. The owner was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The certificated private pilot and one passenger were not injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage by impact forces to the left wing and left elevator. The cross-country personal flight departed West Jordan, Utah, at 1350, with a planned destination of Fruitland. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The pilot reported that the windsock indicated light winds straight down runway 31. The airplane passed through short final at 73 knots, and he noticed some light headwind gusts. During the landing flare, the airplane ballooned, and he applied power to smooth the descent. The pilot stated that the touchdown sound and feel were different, and that the left main landing gear had collapsed. The left wing dropped below the horizon followed by a hard “non-bounce.” The airplane veered to the right, and despite his left rudder and brake control inputs, the airplane exited the right side of the runway surface. The left wing impacted a drainage berm.

Several Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors examined the wreckage and interviewed the pilot. The pilot indicated to them that the landing was hard; a full stall landing was the only type of landing he ever did, and they are all somewhat hard. However, he felt that this was no harder than many of his other landings.

The FAA accident coordinator and another maintenance inspector examined the landing gear shock cords and the separation of the structure. They made the following observations. The shock cords were intact; there was no degradation of the cords themselves. The cord retainer lug had fractured and separated; this allowed the cords to release and lose all of the tension required to perform their intended function. The cords appeared quite new and in excellent condition. A mechanic verified that they were replaced at the annual inspection on September 1, 2009. The airplane had about 40 hours of flight time since the annual. The landing gear structure itself had no indication of previous cracking or fatigue, and there were 45-degree shear lips around the entire circumference of the fracture surface.

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