The pilot reported that he was landing the Piper PA-32 at the airport in Valdosta, Georgia, in turbulent conditions with gusting wind.
During the landing flare, the plane encountered an updraft, followed immediately by a downdraft.
The plane subsequently hit the runway and the nose landing gear collapsed, resulting in substantial damage to the engine firewall.
Review of archived weather information for the airport about the time of the accident revealed variable wind at 9 knots with gusts to 19 knots.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to compensate for gusty wind conditions during the landing flare, which resulted in a hard landing and subsequent nose landing gear collapse.
NTSB Identification: ERA15CA117
This February 2015 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.