On March 24, 2012, about 13:15 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172P, N99087, was substantially damaged during a hard landing at Hernando County Airport (BKV), Brooksville, Florida. The commercial pilot and two passengers were not injured. The airplane was operated by the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, for the purpose of giving orientation flights to new cadets. The flight originated at Tampa Executive Airport (VDF), Tampa, Florida at 12:45.
Damage to the airplane was reported by a CAP pilot after it was discovered during a pre-flight inspection on the afternoon of March 24, 2012. CAP safety personnel initiated an internal investigation to determine who was flying the airplane when the damage occurred. Initially, no pilots that were contacted reported any abnormal activity or were aware of the damage. A ramp employee at BKV reported the following. He was driving a fuel truck on the ramp about 13:15 on March 24, 2012 and observed the accident airplane on final approach for runway 21.
Since he was also a pilot, he pulled over and stopped the truck to watch the airplane land. He observed the airplane “porpoise” three times and he saw and heard the tail strike the runway. The pilot then added full power and commenced a go-around. The ramp employee also watched the airplane taxi to the ramp after the flight. He stated that the pilot did not perform an exterior walk-around inspection to check for any damage. The ramp employee proceeded into the fixed base operator’s office to report the event. An inspector with the Federal Aviation Administration obtained copies of flight log entries for the accident airplane. He then interviewed the pilot that was flying the airplane at the time reported by the ramp employee at BKV. The pilot reported that he was performing an approach to runway 21 for a touch-and-go landing. He recalled the winds from the southwest at 8 knots with gusts to 13 knots.
During the landing, the airplane bounced at first, then settled back down to the runway. He executed a full power takeoff and remained in the traffic pattern for a full stop landing. He stated that he performed a post-flight inspection and noted no discrepancies. He flew the airplane back to VDF without further incident. The pilot reported that he did not land hard or experience a tail strike. The FAA inspector examined the airplane and noted buckling damage to the cabin floor, the engine firewall, and a bent tail strike bar. Weather, reported at BKV at 12:53, included surface winds from 230 degrees at 12 knots with gusts to 18 knots.
An airport ramp employee reported observing the airplane “porpoise” three times during the landing, followed by a tail strike, which he saw and heard. The pilot performed a go-around and remained in the traffic pattern for a full stop landing. The ramp employee observed the pilot and his passengers leave the airplane without performing an external inspection.
During post accident interviews, the pilot who was flying the airplane reported that he was performing a touch-and-go landing and bounced once during the initial touchdown. He stated that he did not land hard or experience a tail strike. The damage to the cabin floor, the engine firewall, and the tail strike bar was discovered later in the day by another pilot preparing to fly the airplane.
The pilot’s improper landing flare, which resulted in a hard landing.