NTSB Identification: CEN12CA132
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, January 02, 2012 in Del Norte, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/08/2012
Aircraft: PIPER PA-18-135, registration: N9952Q
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.

The pilot, who held a private pilot certificate, was receiving dual instruction from a certified flight instructor (CFI) to become familiar with his newly acquired tailwheel-equipped airplane. After practicing some standard flight maneuvers at altitude, the pilot returned to the departure airport to practice full stop landings and takeoffs. The CFI demonstrated the first landing, and then the pilot performed the next four landings and takeoffs with the CFI monitoring the controls and providing assistance when necessary. The CFI stated that the pilot's first landing was normal, the second landing required minor directional control assistance, the third landing required no assistance, and the fourth landing required some assistance from the base leg to final approach but the landing and roll were normal. On the fifth landing, the pilot made a nice three-point touchdown and rolled straight ahead. During the landing roll, the airplane suddenly swerved to the right and the CFI noticed that the pilot had already applied full left corrective rudder. The CFI then applied the left brake, but the application was ineffective. He then applied right brake to slow the airplane's pending departure off the runway. The airplane nosed over and came to rest in a snow bank that was bordering the runway. The top of the rudder sustained substantial damage.

The airplane was equipped with a supplemental type certificate non-standard brake system. The CFI stated that, when he had ferried the airplane, he noted that the brake system was extremely sensitive. The CFI stated that he told the pilot early in his instruction that the use of the brakes should be avoided in normal operations due to their sensitivity. The CFI stated that he believes that the sensitivity of the brake system was a causal factor in the accident.

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

The pilot's loss of directional control during the landing roll, which resulted in a runway excursion. Contributing to the accident were the sensitivity of the brake system and the certified flight instructor pilot's delayed remedial action.

Full narrative available

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