NTSB Identification: SEA02LA136.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, July 23, 2002 in Arlington, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/08/2003
Aircraft: Stearman C3-R, registration: N656K
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, who purchased the aircraft on the day prior to the accident, and who had never flown this make and model biplane before, initiated the solo flight in an attempt to familiarize himself with the aircraft's flight characteristics. He successfully completed two touch-and-go landings, and was on his third attempt when the accident occurred. According to the pilot, he performed a wheel landing (touchdown on the main gear only), and had just lowered the tailwheel to the runway surface when the aircraft began to veer to the left. The pilot applied right rudder and ultimately right brake, but he was unable to correct the swerve/veer in time to keep the aircraft from turning further to the left. As the aircraft continued to turn toward the left side of the runway, the primary tubing structure of both right main gear legs failed, and the aircraft settled to the runway. In a post-accident telephone conversation, the pilot said that he felt he had not taken sufficient corrective action soon enough, and that by the time he applied full right rudder and applied the brake, the aircraft had veered to a point where it could not be realigned with the runway. There was no indication of any malfunction of the flight controls or of the tailwheel steering system.

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

The pilot's inadequate remedial action when responding to the swerve/veer of the tailwheel equipped aircraft, leading to a failure to maintain directional control during the landing roll. Factors include the pilot’s lack of experience in the make and model aircraft (less than one hour).

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