Flat tire compromises landing

Aircraft: Piper Malibu Meridian. Injuries: None. Location: Phoenix, Ariz. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The pilot was attempting to slow down during the landing roll. As he placed the propeller into reverse, the aircraft veered to the right. The pilot was unable to keep the airplane from going off the runway. The left main landing gear collapsed.

Post-accident examination of the 8-ply nose landing gear tire revealed that the tire was under-inflated at 43 psi, whereas the manufacturer’s recommended pressure is 70 psi.

According to a Customer Information Letter that addressed nose landing gear steering concerns, the manufacturer stated that a nose-wheel tire inflated to 70 psi allowed better steering control forces and warned that an under-inflated tire could increase forces associated with steering.

The pilot reported that he did not check the tire inflation pressure during the preflight.

Probable cause: The pilot did not maintain directional control during the landing roll. Contributing to the accident was low nose-wheel tire pressure.

NTSB Identification: WPR11FA093

This January 2011 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.

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