This October 2007 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.
Aircraft: Flight Design CT. Location: Afton, Wyo. Injuries: 2 Minor. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The pilot was practicing landings with his instructor on board. The pilot flew over the airport and noted the wind sock, segmented circle, and wind-T indicated a calm wind from the north. He made his approach to runway 34 using 30° of flaps and an airspeed of 45 knots but did not trim for this speed. He sensed he was slightly low, so he increased power until he saw both VASI bars turn white. He then reduced power to idle. The airplane touched down hard and bounced back into the air. When the airplane touched down again, it became apparent that the right wheel had come off because the stub of the right main gear dug into the runway. The airplane veered to the right and went off the runway. The right wing hit the ground and the airplane nosed over.
The flight instructor’s version of events was somewhat different.
He said the pilot’s performance in the traffic pattern was somewhat ragged and less precise. The instructor stated that the pilot overshot the downwind-to-base turn by 20°, so he took control of the airplane to reestablish a stable approach, and then returned control to the pilot. The airplane crossed the threshold at 55 knots. The pilot allowed the airplane to roll to the right. The instructor tried to recover but it was too late. The airplane landed hard and bounced back into the air, then came down again hard on the right main gear. The airplane slid off the runway and nosed over.
The airport manager, who witnessed the accident, said the airplane was not aligned with the runway centerline when it landed hard. The impact tore off the right main landing gear. The airplane veered off the runway and nosed over. The right wheel was found on the left side of the runway. Laboratory examination revealed the fracture was over-stress, consistent with bending from a hard landing impact.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to correct the alignment of the airplane and his improper recovery from a bounced landing, resulting in exceeding the design stress limits that caused the right main landing gear to fail. The instructor’s inadequate supervision of the pilot was also a factor.
For more information: NTSB.gov