This January 2008 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 Cherokee Six. Location: Taos, N.M. Injuries: None. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The pilot reported encountering turbulence during the approach, so he elected to make the approach at a faster than normal airspeed. According to the pilot, the airplane touched down and then “windmilled” to the left. He added power to abort the landing. The airplane lifted off, but it did not have sufficient altitude to clear a snow bank at the end of the runway.
The landing gear hit the snow and was torn from the airplane but the Cherokee remained airborne. The pilot then flew around the local area for a unspecified period of time and landed gear-up at a nearby airport. During the gear-up landing, the airplane departed the runway and hit the snow-covered terrain.
Probable cause: The pilot’s excessive airspeed during the approach and loss of control during the landing. The turbulence and the snowbank were factors.
For more information: NTSB.gov