Saturday, June 08, 2019

Landing Gear Collapse: 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 Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Stuart, FL
Accident Number: ERA18LA220
Date & Time: 08/15/2018, 1200 EDT
Registration: N425AZ
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Landing gear collapse
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 nose gear inspection documented in the maintenance records was dated March 14, 2016.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Sport Pilot
Age: 58, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Sport Pilot
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 11/18/2017
Flight Time:  428 hours (Total, all aircraft), 144 hours (Total, this make and model), 334 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 12 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 5 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Registration: N425AZ
Model/Series: PIPER SPORT
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2010
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: P1001082
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 03/26/2018, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1320 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 25 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 488 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Rotax
ELT: C91A installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: 912 ULS
Registered Owner: Ksua Aviator Llc
Rated Power: 100 hp
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
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1147 EDT
Direction from Accident Site: 0°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered
Visibility:  7 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 10 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 120°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.13 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 32°C / 24°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Stuart, FL (SUA)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Stuart, FL (SUA)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1100 EDT
Type of Airspace:

Airport Information

Airport: Witham Field (SUA)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 16 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 16
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 4998 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop; Traffic Pattern

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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