On August 30, 1998, about 0800 Alaska daylight time, a tundra tire, tailwheel equipped Piper PA-12 airplane, N3200M, received substantial damage while landing on runway 19 at the Birchwood Airport, Chugiak, Alaska. The solo private pilot was not injured. The 14 CFR Part 91 flight operated in visual meteorological conditions without a flight plan. The flight last departed Soldotna, Alaska, about 0715, and the destination was the Birchwood Airport.

The accident airplane was discovered by an FAA inspector who saw the damaged airplane parked on the ramp at the Birchwood Airport on September 1, and reported it to the NTSB.

During a telephone conversation with an NTSB investigator on September 1, at 1600, the pilot related that while landing on runway 19, he applied the brakes. During brake application, the right brake pedal went to the floor and was ineffective. The airplane subsequently ground looped to the left, and the right wing struck the ground, resulting in substantial damage to the right wing.

Postaccident inspection of the airplane by two FAA Anchorage Flight Standards District Office inspectors, and a certificated aviation mechanic, disclosed no mechanical difficulties with the right brake, or the braking system in general.

The airplane had recently been equipped with 29 inch tundra tires, and the accident landing was on a hard-surfaced, dry runway. FAA Advisory Circular 23.733-1, re Tundra Tires, states, in part: "Tundra tires reduce an airplane's directional stability and controllability during takeoff and landing ground rolls, increase its tendency to ground loop during takeoff and landing ground rolls, and increase its tendency to nose over during landing more on paved surfaces than do gravel, grass, and other surfaces that allow the tires to skid easily."

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