March 5, 2008, San Antonio, Texas, Piper PA-28R-200


The private pilot was asked to perform a power-off 180-degree accuracy landing as part of the practical test for a commercial pilot certification. The first attempt was terminated with a go-around. The second approach appeared normal according to the designated pilot examiner, until approximately five seconds before touchdown. At that point, the airplanes rate of descent increased to approximately 1000 fpm, airspeed slowed below 75 mph and the airplane “dropped onto the runway.” Neither the pilot nor examiner noticed any apparent damage at that time and elected to continue the flight. Upon completing the flight, the airplane was examined by maintenance for a hard landing and substantial damage was confirmed to both wings at the landing gear assembly mounts.


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