Piper PA-25-235 Pawnee, G-BETM
Immediately after touchdown, following a normal glider aerotow flight, the pilot heard a ‘bang’ from the left side of the aircraft and thought the noise was associated with the landing gear. He then switched the magnetos to OFF and attempted to hold the left wing off the ground for as long as possible. However, as the aircraft slowed the left wing dropped and its tip contacted the damp grass runway surface; the aircraft slowly turned through 180° before coming to rest. The pilot vacated the aircraft without difficulty. Post–accident inspection revealed the eye-end attachment lug on the left landing gear damper unit had failed; such a failure allows the landing gear to be unrestrained and pivot outboard. It was evident from the fracture surfaces that the eye-end had been cracked for some time before finally failing on this landing. The pilot reported that the aircraft was used exclusively for aerotowing operations and averaged some six flights per hour from a grass runway.
Published 10 December 2014