NTSB Identification: LAX02LA052.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, December 18, 2001 in RENO, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/25/2003
Aircraft: Cessna 185F, registration: N5172R
Injuries: 2 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 left wing and horizontal stabilizer sustained substantial damage when they contacted the ground during the landing roll. The landing was uneventful until the pilot lowered the tail to the ground, and the airplane suddenly veered to the right. The pilot locked up the left wheel brake, but the airplane continued to the right. Just before the airplane stopped, the left wing and horizontal stabilizer contacted the ground. The pilot said that on several previous occasions the tail wheel seemed to stick initially and cause the airplane to deviate from the selected track, but would free up and track straight. Post accident examination revealed that the tail wheel rotated freely until moved to its maximum left deflection limit, and the tail wheel locked in this position. A mechanic detected wear on both sides of the thrust plate spacers (part number 3407-00). He suspected that the tail wheel springs (part number 3233-00) were binding on the thrust plates. He recommended replacement of the thrust plates whenever they showed wear on either side.

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

Wear on the tail wheel thrust plate spacers resulted in the compression springs binding on the thrust plates and the tail wheel sticking, so that the pilot could not maintain directional control.

Full narrative available

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