SEA97LA024
SEA97LA024

On November 3, 1996, approximately 1540 mountain standard time, a Cessna A185E, N19EC, purchased on the previous day by a private pilot, was substantially damaged during a loss of control on landing at the Carbon County Airport, Price, Utah. The pilot and passenger were uninjured. Visual meteorological conditions existed and the VFR flight plan which had been filed, had not been activated at the time of the accident. The flight, which was personal, was to have been operated under 14CFR91, and originated at Houston, Texas, with its most recent stop at Blanding, Utah.

The pilot reported that he set up for landing on runway 18 and that the aircraft was "lined up (and) centered." He then executed the landing during which the tail-wheel touched down first followed by the main wheels and the aircraft bounced once slightly. He further reported that during the rollout the aircraft began to veer left during which he applied a correction and the aircraft began to track right back towards the centerline. He reported that "at (the) centerline, correction to straighten (the) tracking rendered no results" and the aircraft "continued to (the) right edge of (the) runway and fell over (the) left gear upon striking sand." The pilot also reported that "even applying left brake rendered no correction."

Both left and right landing gear attach bolts and associated nuts were examined along with a replacement bolt and nut from Cessna for the same aircraft (refer to photograph 1). The bolts were examined at the Safety Board's Materials Laboratory Division. The length dimensions were reported as follows:

Left Bolt: 2.394 inches Right Bolt: 2.359 inches New Bolt: 2.341 inches

The left bolt was observed to have a shallow split mid-shaft with longitudinal smearing noted running from the edge of the split face toward the thread end of the shaft (parallel to the bolt shaft longitudinal axis). A small degree of lateral displacement of the bolt's longitudinal axis was observed consistent with a shear or side load force being applied to the bolt perpendicular to the bolt's axis. Additionally, the threads at the end of the bolt displayed smearing and flattening, particularly along the outboard 50% of the threaded end (refer to photograph 2).

Runway 18 at the Carbon County airport measures 8,300 by 100 feet in length and width respectively. A series of photographs were taken of the aircraft beginning near the threshold of runway 18 and progressing towards the aircraft's final resting place. The first view is from the runway centerline looking south towards the aircraft approximately 2,300 feet distant (refer to photograph 3). The second photograph shows a single tire smear on the runway surface beginning in the vicinity of the centerline and arcing to the right (refer to photograph 4). The third photograph shows the single tire smear mark beginning to oscillate back and forth as it proceeds towards the west edge of the runway (refer to photograph 5). The final photograph shows the aircraft at its final resting place slightly west of the runway edge and also shows a blue smear mark associated with the impact of the left blue wingtip with the runway surface (arrow) and the left main landing gear displaced to the right side of the aircraft (refer to photograph 6).

Winds at the Carbon County airport were reported as 230 degrees magnetic at 4 knots 1548 hours MST.

The pilot reported a total of approximately 50 landings in tail-wheel aircraft within the 90 days previous to the accident with approximately 15 landings in the Cessna 185.

Both left and right landing gear bolts and associated nuts were returned to the aircraft owner as documented on NTSB Form 6120.15 (attached).

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