December 22, 2004, Hartford, Conn. / Piper PA-46-350P


At 1730 Eastern time, the aircraft was substantially damaged while landing at the Hartford Brainard Airport (HFD) in Hartford, Conn. Neither the Private pilot nor his passenger was injured. Night VMC prevailed for the local post-maintenance test flight. After completing several approaches at another airport to test a new avionics installation, the flight returned to HFD, and conducted the LDA Runway 2 approach. During the final approach, the pilot felt a thump coming from the left wing area. After parking the airplane, the pilot inspected the left wing and observed distorted spots in the wing and a broken position light. Further examination revealed substantial damage to the leading edge of the left wing, and minor damage to the left landing gear door, the left flap and the left horizontal stabilizer. The left-wing outboard recognition light was damaged, and the light fixture cavity contained numerous tree buds.


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