On January 9, 2011, about 0751 Pacific standard time, a Cessna 310C, N1755H, sustained substantial damage when it collided with terrain near the approach end of runway 24 at the General Wm J Fox Airfield (KWJF), Lancaster, California. The airplane was owned by the pilot and operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) personal flight under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91, when the accident occurred. The airline transport pilot, the sole occupant of the airplane, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the cross-country flight that originated from Daggett, California, at 0707.

In a written report to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the pilot reported that the nose landing gear failed to fully retract after a practice approach to the Palmdale Regional Airport, Palmdale, California. The pilot diverted to a nearby airport in Lancaster, with the intent of landing on runway 24. The pilot stated that he performed the “LANDING WITH DEFECTIVE NOSE GEAR” procedures, as indicated in the owner’s manual; however, the nose gear remained in a mid-range position. Approximately 1/4 mile from the intended runway, with the main gear down and the nose gear in the mid range position, the pilot placed the mixture levers in the “cut-off” position and the propeller levers to “feather.” The pilot reported that after doing so, the “the aim point rapidly shifted to approximately 500 feet short of the runway” and he inadvertently landed approximately 200 feet short of the paved surface.

Postaccident examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed substantial damage to the forward fuselage and wings.

A secondary postaccident examination of the airplane, by the pilot, revealed that the nose landing gear centering roller mechanism was missing and most likely separated during the flight. This, according to the pilot, resulted in the nose gear wheel assembly not centering during retraction which jammed the wheel assembly in the wheel well. He stated that the nose gear continued to cycle when it jammed, and ultimately separated the primary landing gear push-pull tube from the forward rod end, rendering the gear inoperative. It was not determined why the missing nose landing gear centering mechanism separated from the airframe in-flight.

The Emergency Procedures checklist for the accident airplane, LANDING WITH DEFECTIVE NOSE GEAR, indicated, in part, to land the airplane prior to placing the mixture levers to the idle cut-off position. The checklist does not make reference to the propeller levers.

The pilot reported that the wind, during the of the accident, was from 260 degrees at 23 knots.

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