Saturday, August 18, 2018

Czech Sport Aircraft PiperSport, N425AZ: Accident occurred August 15, 2018 at Witham Field Airport (KSUA), Stuart, Martin County, Florida

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Miramar, Florida

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Stuart, FL
Accident Number: ERA18LA220
Date & Time: 08/15/2018, 1200 EDT
Registration: N425AZ
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On August 15, 2018, about 1200 eastern daylight time, a special light sport aircraft (S-LSA) Czech Sport Aircraft AS Piper Sport, N425AZ, operated by the sport pilot, was substantially damaged during landing at Witham Field (SUA), Stuart, Florida. The sport pilot and passenger were not injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local flight that departed SUA about 1100.

The sport pilot reported that during landing on runway 16, the airplane touched down normally on the main landing gear. After 50 ft of ground roll, the nose landing gear touched down and collapsed. One propeller blade subsequently separated and the airplane came to rest upright on the runway.

Examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed that the nose landing gear had penetrated the engine firewall. The inspector added that the nose landing gear had separated at a location where the airplane maintenance manual (AMM) and a service bulletin direct to inspect for cracks. The inspector further stated that the separated fracture surfaces exhibited cracking and corrosion.

Review of SB-CR-016, published October 9, 2013, revealed:


Some SportCruiser / PiperSport / PS-28 Cruiser aircraft have developed cracks in the bottom side of the lower section of the nose landing gear (NLG). The cracks develop on the NLG assembly along the weld of the tube and the bracket. Furthermore, on several aircraft bending of the pivot connecting the fork with leg was discovered and cracks from holes of bolts on the fork. To address this potentially unsafe condition, a repetitive inspection is required of the bottom side of the lower section, in the area of the weld of the tube, the bracket and the pivot and the fork in the place of the bolts mounting the fork to the landing gear.


A. Before next flight after issue of this bulletin. 
B. Periodically at each 25 FH or 50 cycles whatever occurs first check as described in documents [1] for PS-28 Cruiser and [2] for SportCruiser (see REFERENCES). 
C. During pre-flight check (see POH , Section 4, 4.1 Pre-flight check, Inspection Check List, Point 4 - Nose gear) visually inspect pivot (see the picture on the Page 3 of 4 of this Service Bulletin) and verify that there is no evidence of cracks or bending…"

Review of the AMM, 8.4.3, revealed:

"…(d) Using flashlight and 10x magnifier, visually inspect nose landing gear leg lower section and verify there is no evidence of cracking in paint on or around place of the weld of the tube and the bracket…"

The two-seat, low-wing, fixed tricycle-gear airplane, was manufactured in 2010. It was powered by a Rotax 912 ULS, 100-horsepower engine, equipped with a ground-adjustable, two-blade Sensenich propeller. Review of maintenance records revealed that the airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on March 26, 2018. At that time, the airframe and engine had accrued 487.8 hours since new. The airplane flew an additional 24.8 hours from the time of the most recent inspection, until the accident. The most recent nosegear inspection documented in the maintenance records was dated March 14, 2016. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Registration: N425AZ
Model/Series: PIPER SPORT
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: SUA, 16 ft msl
Observation Time: 1147 EDT
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 32°C / 24°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 10 knots / , 120°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 7 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.13 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Stuart, FL (SUA)
Destination:  Stuart, FL (SUA) 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude:  27.181667, -80.221389 (est)

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