NTSB Identification: ERA10CA329
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, June 17, 2010 in Suffolk, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/20/2010
Aircraft: NORTH AMERICAN SNJ-4, registration: N43NA
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

According to statements from the certificated flight instructor (CFI) and the certificated airline transport pilot (ATP), the ATP was seated in the front seat receiving dual instruction to "re-qualify" in the tailwheel-equipped airplane. Previously that day, the front-seat pilot had performed two uneventful takeoffs and landings. The accident flight departed runway 25, with winds estimated to be from 270 degrees to 290 degrees at 5 to 8 mph, and remained in the traffic pattern. While on the downwind leg abeam the runway, the landing gear were extended and the flaps were extended to 20 degrees. The front-seat pilot turned the airplane from base leg to final, and with full flaps extended after crossing the threshold, reduced power and attained a three-point landing attitude. The landing was "smooth and on-centerline," but at 50 knots, the front seat pilot felt a "bump and shimmy," while the CFI felt a "slight bump, much like a skip, followed immediately by the 'feeling' of a very slight yaw of the tail to the left." The CFI took control of the airplane and applied full left rudder and brake, but the airplane did not respond. The airplane departed the right side of the runway and the left wing contacted the ground, resulting in substantial damage to it. Postaccident inspection and operational testing of the tailwheel lock and unlock assembly revealed no mechanical anomalies. No elongation of the hole for the locking or unlocking was noted, and visual inspection of the pin revealed no deformation. The cable and pulley system for the lock and unlock was found to operate normally. Additional inspection of the airplane, its brake system, and tailwheel assembly by a mechanic with a reported 30 years' experience with the airplane also revealed no preexisting mechanical issues.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain directional control during the landing.

Full narrative available

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