LAX98LA004
LAX98LA004

On October 4, 1997, at 0730 hours mountain standard time, an American 8KCAB, N69BP, collided with bushes adjacent to the runway following an on-ground loss of control while landing at Payson, Arizona. The aircraft sustained substantial damage. The private pilot and his passenger were not injured. The flight was a personal flight operating under 14 CFR Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The flight originated in Phoenix, Arizona, at 0700.

An Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airworthiness Inspector examined the aircraft and talked with the pilot at the request of the Safety Board. He said the pilot reported that when he touched down, the aircraft was straight. After he set the tail wheel down, the aircraft pulled right. The pilot said he applied left rudder and the aircraft came back toward the center of the runway. The airplane began to pull to the right again, so the pilot applied power and left rudder to no avail. He decided to decrease the power as the airplane began to roll down the hill, skidding into the trees. The pilot told the FAA inspector that he never applied brakes, and that he was taught to never use the brakes for landing. The pilot was unsure how much power he applied to correct the initial drift to the right. The pilot also stated that he has had other difficult landings in this airplane.

The pilot reported in his written statement to the FAA that he must have relaxed somewhat on the left rudder, because the aircraft "again went hard right." At this point, he said he began to initiate a go-around and realized that he couldn't make it as he was heading so far to the right.

A witness to the accident reported that as the airplane began its touchdown on runway 24, the left wing was high, and that caused the right main tire to contact the runway first. The aircraft then veered to the left, then right, then left, and finally right. It continued a right turn, eventually exiting the runway and colliding with trees approximately 75 feet north of the paved runway. Additionally, he noted that the weather was clear and the winds were calm at the time of the accident.

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