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: Piper Malibu. Location: Atlanta, Ga. Injuries: None. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The pilot was attempting to land in an approximately 50° crosswind. He estimated the velocity of the wind from 6 to 17 knots. As the airplane touched down it began to yaw violently to the left. The pilot applied right rudder to correct, but the airplane traveled off the left side of the runway onto the grass, and the nose landing gear collapsed.
Arching skid marks from the nose and right main landing gear tires were noted on the runway. The mark from the nose landing gear tire was significantly darker. Damage to the right side of the nose gear wheel and right wing spar was also noted. The right lug of the nose landing gear trunnion was fractured. No discrepancies with the nose landing gear steering system were noted. Mechanical and operational issues such as rudder input can result in the nose gear tire not being aligned with the runway at touchdown. No determination could be made as to why the nose landing gear wheel assembly was not aligned with the runway at touchdown.
Probable cause: A misalignment of the nose landing gear wheel assembly during landing for undetermined reasons.
For more information: NTSB.gov