NTSB Identification: MIA99LA255.
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Accident occurred Sunday, September 12, 1999 in ST. PETERSBURG, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/13/2001
Aircraft: Piper PA-24-250, registration: N8051P
Injuries: 1 Minor,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 stated that after a normal landing the airplane initially tracked the runway centerline, but at about 500 feet it veered to the right. The pilot stated that he applied the handbrake which made the situation worse, and the airplane exited the runway. A mechanic who examined the airplane said that the damage was not consistent with a hard landing, but with a sudden stop. The mechanic said that the airplane's hand brake cable is connected to the toe brake cable, and that when the hand brake is applied, it locks the rudder pedals, preventing the pilot from applying rudder input to control the airplane. The mechanic said the rudder trim was 1/3 of the way to the right of center, resulting in the rudder pedals being uneven when the handbrake was applied. The mechanic said that the pilot told him that the landing was normal, and during the rollout he retracted the flaps, turned off the boost pump, and then applied the hand brake, when as a result of applying the hand brake, the airplane veered off the runway. The nose gear right drag link was sent to the NTSB's Materials Laboratory for analysis, and the report shows that the drag link fracture surfaces exhibited a rough, matte gray appearance, consistent with overstress, and the drag link bolt was bent 13 degrees relative to its axis, also consistent with overstress.

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

the pilots improper use of the hand brake during the landing roll out and his failure to maintain directional control, which resulted in the airplane exiting the runway and incurring substantial damage.

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