On July 3, 1997, at 1815 central daylight time, a Luscombe 8A airplane, N71381, was substantially damaged following a loss of control while landing near Seminole, Texas. The commercial pilot, sole occupant of the airplane, was not injured. The airplane was owned and operated by a private individual under Title 14 CFR Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight for which a flight plan was not filed. The 257 nautical mile cross country flight originated at Deming, New Mexico, at approximately 1505.

According to witnesses, the pilot of the tailwheel equipped airplane was executing a full stop landing on runway 26 at the Gaines County Airport near Seminole, Texas. During the landing roll, the pilot lost control of the airplane resulting in a ground loop.

In a telephone interview with the investigator in charge the pilot stated that prior to initiating his approach, he had determined that "the winds were calm since he did not see any clues to indicate he was landing with a quartering tailwind." The pilot also stated that the tailwheel steering on heel brake equipped Luscombe airplanes is "marginal at best" when fully operational, and his was no exception, especially when attempting left turns. The pilot stated that he had accumulated over 700 hours in Luscombes.

Witnesses at the airport stated winds at the time of the accident were reported from 090 at approximately 6 to 10 knots. Examination of the airplane by the airport manager revealed that the right main landing gear collapsed, the propeller blades were bent, the right wing was damaged and the right aileron was destroyed.

Numerous attempts, albeit unsuccessful, were made by the investigator-in-charge to obtain the Pilot/Operator Report (NTSB Form 6120.1/2) from the pilot/owner of the airplane.

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