NTSB Identification: ANC07LA059.
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Accident occurred Thursday, June 28, 2007 in Kotzebue, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/31/2008
Aircraft: Piper PA-31, registration: N3535F
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 airline transport pilot reported that at the start of his second flight of the day, the airplane's brakes appeared to be locked, but the parking brake was not set. He was able to unlock the brakes by manipulating the parking brake several times, applying engine power, and by moving the nose gear steering via the rudder pedals several times. The airplane brakes released, but he did not report the brake problem to the operator. While landing at the end of the third flight, the pilot said that as soon as all three landing gear tires were on the ground, the airplane began a gradual right turn. He said he applied left brake and left rudder with minimal effect. The left main landing gear tire produced a skid mark on the runway as the airplane overshot the planned taxiway exit, and then departed off the right edge of the runway. The airplane received structural damage to the fuselage and wing spars. The airplane was equipped with hydraulic brakes, and a hydraulic parking brake valve. The parking brake valve is activated by a cable between the valve and the parking brake handle. Application of the airplane's brakes via pedal pressure, and then pulling out on the parking brake handle, sets the parking brake. After recovery from the ditch, an FAA inspector, accompanied by a mechanic from the operator, examined the airplane. Their examination revealed that the parking brake cable was not securely fastened to the airframe by its attaching clamp. This could allow the outer cable housing to move independent of the inner wire attached to the parking brake valve, and could prevent parking brake release. Partial valve activation could hold hydraulic brake pressure on the airplane's brakes, if the brakes were touched during flight.

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

Locked parking brakes and the operator's maintenance personnel's failure to properly secure the parking brake cable at its fuselage attaching clamp.

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