CEN11LA352
CEN11LA352

On May 21, 2011, about 1545 eastern daylight time, an Aero Commander 100-180, N4016X, sustained substantial damage during a hard landing at the Ohio University Airport-Snyder Field (UNI), Athens, Ohio. The private pilot and three passengers were not injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and no flight plan was filed. The airplane departed from the Perry County Airport (I86), New Lexington, Ohio, about 1500.

The pilot reported that the flight had proceeded normally to UNI. He entered the traffic pattern and established the airplane on final approach to runway 25 (5,600 feet by 100 feet, asphalt). He flew a stable approach and flared the airplane. He reported that as the airplane settled to the runway, a "wind gust raised the nose" and slowed the airplane. He added power but the airplane "dropped a short distance" to the runway. He reported that "the contact was not hard but resulted in a failure and collapse of the right main gear." The airplane skidded off the right side of the runway resulting in a collapsed nose gear and a propeller strike. The firewall and fuselage sustained substantial damage.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors examined the airplane on the ramp at UNI. The flight controls were checked and they exhibited continuity. The propeller tips were bent aft and exhibited scratches consistent with a ground strike while power was applied. The throttle, carburetor heat, and mixture controls were all full in. The lower firewall was bent. The right main landing gear was collapsed. The lower part of the right landing gear was bent outwards approximately 90 degrees to the upper part of the landing gear. The nose landing gear collapsed and was bent aft and to the left. The flaps were found in the fully retracted position.

The FAA inspectors reported that witnesses stated that the airplane was on a high, steep, and fast approach path with the landing flare and touchdown occurring near mid-field. The airplane appeared to "balloon" during the flare. Two witnesses stated that the airplane looked like it stalled and dropped hard onto the runway. One witness took photographs of the airplane as it was landing. One photograph showed the airplane nearing mid-field with the flaps in the up position. The photograph of the airplane on the side of the runway also showed the flaps in the up position.

The airplane's maximum gross weight was 2,475 pounds. The calculated weight of the accident airplane was about 2,345 pounds. The stall speed at maximum gross weight, flaps up, is 63 mph, with flaps down, 60 mph.

The 1530 surface weather observation at UNI was: winds variable at 4 knots gusting to 7 knots; 10 miles visibility; clouds scattered at 4,600 feet; temperature 28 degrees Celsius; dew point 7 degrees Celsius; altimeter 30.00 inches of mercury.

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