NTSB Identification: FTW98LA418.
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Accident occurred Friday, September 25, 1998 in ALPINE, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/16/2001
Aircraft: Bellanca 17-30A, registration: N727DC
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 2,752 hour commercial pilot lost directional control of the single engine airplane after the nose landing gear tire made contact with the runway following a normal landing on the 80 foot wide gravel runway. The pilot reported that as soon as the nose wheel touched down, the airplane started to pull to the left and he was not able to control the airplane by applying opposite brake, rudder or nose wheel steering. Physical examination revealed that the airplane touched down left of centerline and the left wing collided with mesquite bushes alongside the left edge of the runway. The pilot stated that he suspected that the steering rod or the steering collar for the nose wheel steering had failed. The pilot stated that he was told by a person from the recovery crew that recovered the wreckage, that the steering collar rod was fractured. The nature of the fracture was not determined and the report from the recovery crew could not be confirmed due to the sale of the wreckage. The gravel on the runway was very loose and one of the pilots compared the feeling of operating the airplane in loose gravel as if the airplane was riding on ball bearings.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain directional control of the airplane for undetermined reasons. A factor was the loose gravel composition of the runway.

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