LAX98LA288
LAX98LA288

On September 9, 1998, at 1700 hours Pacific daylight time, a Ryan ST3KR, N22JK, ground looped during a rejected takeoff at Los Banos, California. The personal cross-country flight was a continuation of a flight to Chandler Field, Fresno, California. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The private pilot/owner and his passenger were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight and no flight plan was filed.

The pilot stated he landed over an hour earlier with no problems and waited to meet another airplane. He estimated the winds were 20 knots gusting to 30 knots, about 90 degrees to the runway at takeoff. After a long ground roll he lifted off with the flight controls in an extreme cross-controlled position. Upon neutralizing the controls the airplane immediately drifted off the right side of the runway and settled into the dirt. The pilot elected to abort the takeoff and keep the airplane on the ground. A ditch and a cornfield were in his path. He cut power and turned the aircraft sharply into the wind. During this maneuver the tail wheel dug into the soft ground beside the runway. Both wing tips scraped the ground, the left main landing gear was twisted, the fuselage was bent behind the cockpit, and the tail cone was bent.

An aircraft mechanic that worked at the airport estimated the winds to be 25 to 30 knots and 70 to 80 degrees off the runway heading. He also noted that the airplane that took off immediately prior to the accident had trouble departing. That aircraft had veered off the runway before coming back onto the runway and lifting off. He stated that the pilot told him he had stomped on the rudder to ground loop the airplane to avoid a ditch.

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