Side-load over-stresses landing gear

Aircraft: Piper Pacer. Injuries: None. Location: Cross Keys, N.J. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: An airport surveillance camera captured the airplane as it landed, then fish-tailed before going off the left side of the runway.

There were tire marks on the runway near the airplane’s touchdown point, and farther down the runway, there was a single rubber tire mark and wing paint transfer mark left of the runway centerline and continuing onto the intersecting taxiway, near where the airplane came to rest.

Investigators determined that the right main landing gear failed during the landing. Although internal corrosion of the landing gear was noted, a detailed examination of the failed landing gear revealed no corrosion associated with the over-stress fracture.

Based on physical and security camera evidence, investigators determined that it is likely that upon landing, the pilot placed a side-load on the landing gear, tried to realign with the runway centerline, but overcorrected and subsequently lost control.

Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain control of the airplane during landing, which resulted in the over-stress and subsequent failure of the right main landing gear assembly.

NTSB Identification: ERA12LA287

This April 2012 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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