NTSB Identification: MIA04LA072.
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Accident occurred Thursday, April 15, 2004 in Lakeland, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/30/2004
Aircraft: North American SNJ-5B, registration: N31443
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot stated he was flying the airplane from the backseat. The control tower operator told them to land mid-field. He came down on final at 80 knots and flew in ground effect until approximately the mid-field point. He retarded the throttle to idle and the airplane settled nicely to the runway. The airplane rose back into the air slightly and he held the control stick all the way aft. The airplane settled again very smoothly then the tail rose up and the nose lurched to the right. The tail came back down and he was holding left rudder to correct the direction. The tail came up again and the nose lurched to the right again. The airplane them began hopping sideways before it left the runway and the left landing gear collapsed. Postaccident examination of the accident site by NTSB and FAA Investigators showed the airplane had departed the right side of runway 27 Left, coming to rest nose down in the grass between taxiways A3 and A4. Marks from the left and right main landing gear tires were visible on the runway until the airplane departed the runway surface. The left landing gear had collapsed when the landing gear strut failed in overload at the time the gear made contact with the soft dirt at the edge of the runway. The left wing had contacted the ground and was bent up at the outboard 4 feet. After recovery of the airplane from the runway NTSB and FAA Investigators examined the landing gear, tires, and brakes. The left and right main landing gear tires had no worn or scuff spots on them. The left and right main landing gear brakes operated normally. The tail landing gear was rotated 90 degrees to the normal position after the accident, but the gear rotated freely back to the normal position and locked in the detent. The owner of the airplane stated after the accident that he previously had a brake malfunction with the accident airplane, but he repaired the brakes and had not had a reoccurence of the brake problem. He stated that after the accident he performed a temporary repair to the left wing of the airplane and after receiving an FAA ferry permit, ferried the airplane to his home airport. He stated that during the ferry flight he experienced no evidence of failure or malfunction of the wheel brakes or any other components of the airplane. He stated that the SNJ airplane is normally flown from the front seat and that it is harder to land from the rear seat.

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

The failure of the pilot to maintain directional control of the airplane during the landing roll resulting in the airplane departing the right side of the runway, collapsing the left main landing gear, the left wing striking the ground, and the airplane nosing down.

Full narrative available

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