Hard landing for Piper

Aircraft: Piper Malibu. Injuries: None. Location: Allentown, Pa. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The pilot was attempting to land in a gusting crosswind. He applied a crosswind correction intending to land first on the the right main wheel, which was into the wind. The airplane touched down harder than the pilot intended and swerved to the left. The nose landing gear collapsed, resulting in substantial damage to the firewall and forward baggage compartment supports.

Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to adequately compensate for crosswind conditions, resulting in a hard landing.

NTSB Identification: ERA11CA202

This March 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.


  1. Fritz Katz says

    This has to be the shittiest, most perfunctory NTSB report ever. No statement of what actual winds were, pilot total experience, nor what type of crosswind “correction” he applied prior to flare (crab or slip). From the hop-skip-and-take-a-dump outcome I’d speculate it was one of those airline style “crab all the way” crosswind approaches where everything suddenly goes to hell in the flare since a Malibu doesn’t weigh 150,000 pounds.
    Too many CFIs teach airline-style crosswind technique to students without turbines slung under the wings “because they’ll need to do it that way like the professionals eventually ” (what, one in ten thousand?) so instead of feeling out and adjusting the wing low slip all the way down final they have to suddenly guess at it in the flare.
    I also see (as maybe here) people release crosswind controls on touchdown instead of going to max deflections in rollout and into parking (altering with heading changes in taxi).
    Worst/best crosswind video and best comments ever at: YouTube:
    “Light aircraft in WILD cross-wind landings at Tokoroa Airfield”

    • says

      I agree whole heartedly! Crab into a crosswind is fine on an instrument approach. Once you have visual, the pilot should establish his X-wind slip correction so as to get a feel for the needed correction. Only time I messed up doing this kind of correction was in a Convair 580. After much leg strain, the instructor pilot asked if I was aware that the aileron and rudder were connected ( now I can’t even remember how).

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