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Summary

Summary

After a short flight with three passengers, the owner offered one of the passengers who held a Private Pilot Licence a further flight as pilot in command, as she had not flown this particular aircraft model previously. The aircraft was seen to take off, complete a circuit, land very heavily, and bounce into the air to a height of about 20 feet. Witnesses heard the engine noise increase and saw the aircraft climb slowly with a high nose attitude and with full flap set, to a height of about 80 feet. The aircraft then entered a flat, unsteady, skidding turn to the left through about 180 degrees. After flying straight for a short period, still at very low speed, the left wing and nose dropped suddenly, and the aircraft impacted the ground. Evidence was found of the nose landing gear lower attachment bracket having been misaligned prior to final impact. This could have resulted from the heavy landing and jammed the lower section of the strut preventing its normal movement and/or buckling the lower firewall and adjacent fuselage area. Such damage could cause a jammed rudder control. There is evidence of high foot loads being applied to the right hand rudder pedal(s) at impact. This is consistent with the aircraft having the rudder jammed to the left and could account for the abnormal skidding left turn performed by the aircraft after the heavy landing. Ground impact occurred with the flaps at 10 degrees. It is probable that action was taken to raise the flaps after the turn in an attempt to increase aircraft performance, but the combination of low speed and incompatible control surface deflections caused the aircraft to stall.

 
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