NTSB Identification: ATL05LA076.
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Accident occurred Thursday, April 28, 2005 in Thomaston, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/31/2006
Aircraft: Piper PA-20, registration: N7053K
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 pilot stated the main wheels touched down normally; when the tailwheel touched down, the airplane pulled hard to the left, and application of the rudder had no effect. The airplane continued left off the side of the runway and collided with a lighting system. The tailwheel rudder arm assembly was found fractured and separated on the right side, and evidence of a previous weld repair inboard of the fracture was observed. The weld repair was observed at the thickest area of the tapered rudder arm assembly, and the fracture was observed at a smaller-diameter area. Metallurgical examination of the rudder arm assembly revealed the aluminum component showed deformation near the fracture surfaces with no evidence of fatigue.

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

The unapproved repair of the tailwheel rudder arm assembly, which resulted in an overload failure during touchdown and subsequent loss of control of the airplane and on-ground collision with an object.

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