NTSB Identification: ANC96LA105.
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Accident occurred Saturday, July 20, 1996 in MCGRATH, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/18/1997
Aircraft: Piper PA-18, registration: N2561N
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot reported that the left, over-sized Tundra tire deflated and the left wing subsequently struck the ground while he was taxiing for takeoff at Mc Grath, Alaska. The pilot was involved in an accident a week earlier with the same airplane when the main landing gear collapsed while landing at a rural mining airstrip. At the previous accident site, the pilot made unauthorized repairs to the landing gear and wing lift struts. He fashioned a main gear leg from iron water pipe, and taped boards to the lift struts. He then elected to fly the airplane to Palmer, Alaska, so that additional repairs could be made. He made an interim stop at Mc Grath for gas, but did not seek repairs from any aviation repair facility prior to his attempted departure. Discussion with Tundra tire experts disclosed that proper landing gear geometry is essential for safe operation. If the landing gear geometry is incorrect, additional side loads will be placed on the tire, which may cause it to rotate on the rim, slicing the valve stem and allowing the tire to deflate.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The improper and unauthorized repair of the main landing gear by the pilot, and the pilot's decision to operate the airplane with known deficiencies.

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