Monday, March 11, 2019

Piper PA-31-325 Navajo C/R, owned and operated by the pilot as a flight test under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, N45MJ: Accident occurred March 08, 2019 at Leesburg International Airport (KLEE), Lake 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; Orlando, Florida

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Orlando, FL

Accident Number: ERA19LA125
Date & Time: 03/08/2019, 1000 EST
Registration: N45MJ
Aircraft: Piper PA31
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Flight Test 

On March 8, 2019, about 1000 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-31-325, N45MJ, sustained substantial damage after a landing gear collapse while taxiing at the Leesburg International Airport (LEE), Leesburg, Florida. The private pilot was not injured. The airplane was owned and operated by the pilot as a flight test 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.

According to the pilot, he dropped off his airplane at a maintenance facility for an annual inspection. It was suggested by maintenance personnel that an inner landing gear door kit be installed (STC SA00555DE) during the annual inspection. After the door kit installation was completed, numerous test flights were conducted and none of them were acceptable. During the landing gear extension, two green landing lights appeared as expected, but the third light (right main landing gear) was very slow to illuminate. Adjustments were made after each flight, and on the last flight while taxiing back to the ramp after landing the right landing gear collapsed.

Initial examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed buckling of the right inboard wing.

The airplane was retained for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N45MJ
Model/Series: PA31 325
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held:None  

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation: LEE, 75 ft msl
Observation Time: 1029 EST
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 21°C / 12°C
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 7 knots / , 170°
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.27 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Orlando, FL (LEE)
Destination: Orlando, FL (LEE)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude:  28.822778, -81.808333 (est)

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