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N9170X accident description

New Hampshire map... New Hampshire list
Crash location 43.572500°N, 71.418889°W
Nearest city Laconia, NH
43.527855°N, 71.470351°W
4.0 miles away
Tail number N9170X
Accident date 18 Jan 2003
Aircraft type Piper PA-46-350P
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On January 18, 2003, at 1145 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-46-350P, N9170X, was substantially damaged while landing at the Laconia Municipal Airport (LCI), Laconia, New Hampshire. The certificated private pilot and passenger were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight which originated at the Long Island/Mac Arthur Airport (ISP), Islip, New York, about 1030. The personal flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The pilot reported that as he approached the Laconia area, he attempted to obtain an airport advisory on the UNICOM frequency, but got no response. He then reported a 45-degree entry to the downwind leg of the traffic pattern for runway 26. He maintained visual contact with a Mooney on final approach, and observed no abnormalities during the Mooney's landing.

When the pilot turned from base to final, the pilot noticed that the wind sock indicated no wind, and he prepared for a short field landing. As the airplane touched down, it veered "dead left," slid off the runway, and impacted a snow pile.

The pilot reported that after the accident, as he walked to the fixed base operator (FBO), he noticed that the runway was approximately 85% covered with ice approximately 1/4 - 1 inch thick.

The pilot stated that he received a weather briefing prior to the flight, which stated the runway at Laconia had been sanded, due to "thin, patchy ice."

Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed substantial damage to the right wing. Additionally, the right foot of the engine mount, and the nose gear actuator lug were observed fractured.

The fractured portion of the engine mount and nose gear actuator lug were sent to the Safety Board Materials Laboratory. According to the Material Laboratory's Factual Report:

"Visual examination of the fracture surface on the engine mount piece revealed that most of the fracture surface areas were on a slant plane and were either clean (bright and shiny), or contained superficial rust colored deposits, features typical of recent overstress fractures. However, the portion of the fracture area indicated by the arrow pair in figures 1 and 2 was on a flat plane and contained very dark discoloration, indicative of a preexisting brittle fracture region such as fatigue cracking.

...The fatigue region was near but not directly adjacent to the toe of the weld between the cylindrical portion and end cap portion of the foot.

...Examination of the lug portion of the nose landing gear actuator revealed features typical of overstress separations. Compression damage was noted on one side of the fracture...This damage and the deformation associated with the fracture were indicative of an overstress fracture from lateral bending loads."

Piper Service Bulletin 1103 was issued on April 22, 2002 (an updated Service Bulletin 1103A was issued on January 27, 2003), and addressed engine mount inspections of Piper Malibu and Mirage aircraft. The Service Bulletin attributed cracks on the engine mount in the area of the nose gear actuator attach feet, to "excessive loads, possibly through hard landings, rough field operations, excessive speed turns and/or improper towing of the aircraft. The Service Bulletin required that Piper Malibu operators inspect the engine mounts for cracks at the next scheduled maintenance event, and each 100 hours time in service or annual inspection, thereafter. When cracks were observed, the engine mount was to be replaced with a newly designed model which incorporated a one-piece foot at the nose gear actuator attach point. The original design of the engine mount incorporated a two piece foot welded together at the nose gear actuator attach point.

Examination of the aircraft logbooks revealed the Service Bulletin was complied with in April 2002, with no cracks observed.

The weather reported at Laconia, at 1155, included winds from 210 degrees at 3 knots, 10 miles visibility, clear skies, temperature 7 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point -11 degrees Fahrenheit, and barometric pressure 30.05 inches Hg.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's loss of directional control during landing, which resulted in an impact with a snowbank, and overstress fracture of the nose gear actuator and engine mount foot attachment. A factor in the accident was the icy runway conditions.

(c) 2009-2018 Lee C. Baker / Crosswind Software, LLC. For informational purposes only.