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N56598 accident description

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Crash location 37.120834°N, 92.311111°W
Nearest city Mountain Grove, MO
37.125608°N, 92.274883°W
2.0 miles away
Tail number N56598
Accident date 21 Dec 2003
Aircraft type Piper PA-28R-200
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On December 21, 2003, at 1600 central standard time, a Piper PA-28R-200 (Arrow), N56598, piloted by a private pilot, was substantially damaged during landing on runway 26 (3,590 feet by 50 feet, asphalt) at the Mountain Grove Memorial Airport (1MO), Mountain Grove, Missouri. Aircraft directional control was lost and it departed the runway pavement. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The local flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91 and was not on a flight plan. The pilot and three passengers reported no injuries. The flight departed 1MO approximately 1545.

In his written statement, the pilot reported completing two previous flights that day without any problems. He recalled that the winds had been "strong" and "gusty" during the earlier flights. Prior to the accident flight, however, the wind had diminished to 5 knots or less, according to the pilot.

The pilot reported that the pre-takeoff brake check was normal and the takeoff was uneventful. He stated that upon returning to the airport, the approach and landing were normal. He noted he applied even braking and the aircraft's track paralleled the runway centerline. However, after about a 400-foot ground roll, the aircraft began pulling to the left. He stated: "I immediately applied full right brake and right rudder and released the left brake while maintaining full [back pressure] on the yoke. … The left turn ceased with the aircraft continuing a straight path toward the runway edge. The aircraft entered the grass between two runway lights. After leaving the runway, the left main gear struck a small ditch. The aircraft turned 60 degrees to the left and came to a gentle stop."

A local pilot, who resided within one-quarter mile of the airport, reported observing the accident aircraft's approach. She stated: "I also estimated that the Arrow's final approach to runway 26 was a bit high and fast, however not outside of the [parameters] of a successful landing. I thought he must have landed a little long. However, from my vantage point, I could not see the touchdown." She noted that the "chirp" of the tires on the runway was louder than usual, and she recalled thinking the pilot had made a hard "3 point landing."

The president of the flying club from which the accident aircraft was rented reported having a conversation about the accident with the pilot. He stated: "I expressed to [the pilot] that in the crosswind landing situation the Arrow's characteristics when pushing the rudder for landing correction, that it would be easy to push with the toes to lock the brake. [The pilot] expressed back to me that was probably the case."

A post-accident inspection revealed the left main landing gear had collapsed and damaged the left wing. The left main tire had a hole worn through the tread area. The tire's internal belts were visible surrounding the perimeter of the hole. Two small worn areas, commonly referred to as flat spots, were also observed on the tire. The brake system on the left main landing gear was examined. No anomalies consistent with a pre-impact failure were observed.

The runway exhibited tire marks beginning approximately 1,400 feet from the threshold and continuing, virtually uninterrupted, to the point the aircraft departed the pavement. The marks in the grass continued from that point to the aircraft's resting position in the ditch.

The initial skid mark was associated with the left main landing gear. It continued approximately 275 feet and paralleled the runway centerline. The mark was characterized by a single, continuous line with the exception of two short breaks.

The skid mark produced by the left main gear tire changed to a set of two parallel marks. At this point, the mark indicated that the aircraft began tracking toward the left side of the runway and was continuous until it left the pavement. A single, continuous skid mark associated with the right main landing gear tire began about the time the aircraft started tracking to the left.

NTSB Probable Cause

Improper use of the brakes during landing by the pilot, resulting in failure of the left main landing gear tire and a loss of directional control. Contributing factors were the failure of the main landing gear, as well as the grass and the ditch adjacent to the runway.

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