ERA11LA099
ERA11LA099

On December 24, 2010, at 1558 eastern standard time, a Beech, F35, N3448B, experienced a hard landing at the Syracuse Hancock International Airport (SYR), New York. The pilot was not injured and the airplane incurred substantial damage. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the local flight. The airplane was owned and operated by an individual, under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, as a personal flight.

The pilot stated that he arrived initially at the airport about 2 hours prior to the accident. When the fix base operator’s (FBO) attendant went to pull the airplane from the hangar, the nose wheel strut had collapsed. The pilot attributed this to the cold weather and also to the fact that he had not flown in 5 weeks due to the weather. He recalls that the strut was rebuilt about 8 years ago and had not collapsed before and only had the occasional nitrogen servicing to maintain proper height, which was not a frequent event. He left the FBO to conduct a few errands and returned, to which the mechanic had serviced the strut. The airplane was topped off with fuel.

The pilot planned to perform instrument work. His first landing was a touch and go during the instrument landing system (ILS) to runway 28, which the approach was in a configuration of gear down, partial flaps, 14 manifold pressure arriving over the field about 65 mph. He then executed the published missed approach, retracting the gear and flaps, and after 1 revolution in the hold pattern, he saw that the windshield was picking up a trace of ice. He requested and received the area navigation (RNAV) ILS to runway 28 which went uneventful. He centered the airplane over the runway, in the same configuration as the previous landing. He landed with main landing gear first, immediately after, the nose gear went down and the plane veered off to the left at a 45 degree angle into the snow, stopping just prior to a directional sign. The right and left wings incurred substantial damage, the nose gear separated, and one of the two blades separated from the propeller hub. The pilot initially stated that the nose gear malfunctioned; later that the icing possibly caused the airplane to stall.

A Syracuse Police Department representative stated that upon responding to the accident site on the eastern end runway 10-28, he observed a small single engine aircraft nose down in the snow off to the southern side of the runway. A section of the propeller was making contact with the runway, and a section of the airplane's nose landing gear was approximately 50 feet from the damaged plane. It was determined later that the pilot removed the gear section from the runway and relocated it to the snow area. The pilot stated to the police representative that the accident occurred when he landed from the eastern end of runway 10-28, about 60 mph, and just after he was on the landing roll; the front landing gear broke off the plane, which caused the plane to skid off the runway into the snow. The skid marks started about 300 feet from the beginning of the runway (28) and led off the runway.

The pilot, seated in the left seat, held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land and instrument airplane. He was issued a FAA third-class medical certificate on November 22, 2010, with limitations of must wear corrective lenses. A review of the pilot’s flight logbook showed his last flight was 48 days prior the accident; with a total time of 1,059 hours.

The Beech F35, a four place, all metal, low wing, V tail, single-engine airplane, with retractable landing gear, serial number D-4232, was manufactured in 1956, and issued a standard airworthiness certificate, in the utility category. The airplane was powered by a Continental E-225, 225-horsepower engine, equipped with a two bladed variable-pitch propeller. The airplane was not certified for flight in known icing conditions.

The METAR report for SYR at 1554, was winds 320 degrees at 6 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; overcast at 1,900 msl; temperature minus 3 degrees Celsius (C); dew point minus 7 degrees C; altimeter 30.09 inches of mercury.

Runway 10-28 at SYR is asphalt and grooved, 9,003 foot long by 150 foot wide.

During vectors to the RNAV approach for runway 28, the SYR controller attempted to deviate the pilot flight levels and advised of reported icing conditions. The pilot requested to stay at those reported icing levels.

The responding Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector confirmed ice built up on the leading edge of the airplane’s wings. The nose landing gear chrome piston strut section separated in an aft direction, in overload, just below the piston strut housing.

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