ERA12LA287
ERA12LA287

On April 13, 2012, about 1418 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-20, N7001K, was substantially damaged when the right main landing gear collapsed during landing at Cross Keys Airport (17N), Cross Keys, New Jersey. The certificated commercial pilot was not injured. The airplane was registered to, and operated by, Jersey Devil Dusters, LLC under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed. The flight departed from the Flying W Airport (N14), Lumberton, New Jersey about 1400.

According to the pilot, while on right downwind for runway 9, he observed the windsock indicate that there would be a quartering headwind condition on the final leg of the approach. While on final approach, the pilot further reported that minimal amount of wind correction was required to maintain alignment with the centerline of the runway. During the landing roll, at a slow airspeed, the right wing dropped, and the airplane subsequently came to rest.

Security camera video at the airport, located about midfield and approximately 60 feet from the left edge of the landing runway, revealed that about 1406 the airplane was on the final leg of the approach. As the airplane crossed over a line of trees, about 700 feet prior to the runway threshold, the wings were observed rocking to the left and then to the right, which continued intermittently and was more apparent over the runway threshold. The airplane touched down on the main landing gear about 900 feet past the threshold. Upon touchdown, the airplane veered slightly to the left, then to the right, and then back to the left; however, the main landing gear remained within the vicinity of the runway centerline after touchdown. Another security camera, located near the fixed base operator, recorded the airplane land, as the other camera had captured, and then veer to the right. The left wing lifted and the airplane turned to the left in a right-wing-down attitude before exiting the side of the runway, where it came to rest in a right wing down attitude.

Initial examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed substantial damage to the right main landing gear attach point and the adjacent fuselage structure. Photographs provided by the FAA revealed marks similar to a rubber tire marks on the runway looking back towards the runway threshold. Another photograph, looking down the runway in the direction of travel, revealed a tire mark and wing paint transfer beginning to the left of the runway centerline and continuing onto the intersecting taxiway. The rubber mark was consistent in dimension until approximately 15 feet from the runway edge at which point the tire witness marks revealed uneven tire movement.

The right main landing gear was removed and sent to the NTSB Materials Laboratory for further examination. The assembly was received with the tire partially on the rim; however, the outer bead portion of the wheel was not received. Examination revealed clean, matte grey fracture surfaces oriented on slant planes through the tube walls at all fracture and partial fracture locations. The fractures were consistent with overstress separations and no corrosion was noted associated with any of the fractures.

The pilot reported 980.2 hours of total flight experience, which included 28 hours in the accident airplane make and model. He further reported that the total time on the landing gear assembly was 1,433.1 total hours, and that it had been inspected 24 flight hours prior to the accident.

According to the pilot and FAA records, the right main landing gear attach fittings, right lower longeron, and right landing gear had repairs accomplished in 1979.

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