CHI00LA126
CHI00LA126

On April 29, 2000, at 1315 central daylight time (cdt), a Beech UC-45J, N3482, operated by a commercial pilot, sustained substantial damage during landing to the east, on a grass airstrip, east-northeast of Champaign, Illinois, when the airplane lost directional control and nosed over. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was being conducted under 14 CFR part 91. No flight plan was on file. The pilot and two passengers on board the airplane reported no injuries. The local flight originated at Rantoul, Illinois, at 1245 cdt.

In his written statement, the pilot said that prior to landing he did a normal pre-landing "GUMPS" check. The pilot said that he did a three-point touchdown to the Day Aero Place landing strip (2,200 feet by 100 feet, dry grass). He said, "... as we landed, the tail wanted to come up, so I pulled the stick all the way back and held it back ... while I was reaching to lift the flaps off." The pilot said that before he got the flaps retracted, he noticed the tail was coming up again. He ensured that the power was off and his feet were off the brakes. "The airplane came up on its nose. "We were almost stopped before we flipped on our back over the nose." The pilot said that when he later returned to the airplane, he noticed the "T-handle brake lever was 3/4 engaged."

The passenger/owner on board the airplane said that shortly after touchdown, the airplane started to swerve right, then left. The airplane then went "full nose forward, skidded on [its] nose a short distance, and then fell over on its back."

A witness, positioned approximately 1,300 feet west-northwest of the airfield, said he saw the airplane touch down on its main gear within the first couple hundred feet of runway, and proceed to roll out as the tail started to settle. "Before the tail reached the ground, the airplane made a little wiggle and appeared to be heading towards the north side of the runway. At that time the tail started up and seemed to hesitate for a split second, and then [the airplane] went almost straight up on its nose and over on its back."

A Federal Aviation Administration inspector examined the airplane on the airstrip. The airplane was found resting on its back with it's nose facing west, approximately 500 feet down the airstrip. A pair of parallel-running tire marks preceded the airplane by approximately 150 feet. The tire marks began in the center of the airstrip and gradually moved toward the north edge of the airstrip until reaching a point approximately 10 feet in front of the nose of the airplane, where they stopped. Eleven succeeding slashes in the ground, running perpendicular to the parallel tire tracks, preceded the airplane on the airplane's left side. A visual inspection of the airplane showed the nose of the airplane crushed aft. The cockpit and top of the airplane were crushed inward. The cockpit windows were broken out. The tops of both radial engine cowlings were crushed inward. The left wing leading edge at the tip was crushed downward. The left horizontal stabilizer was bent downward at the root. The tops of both outboard vertical stabilizers and rudders were crushed inward. One blade on both the left and right propellers were bent aft. Both blades showed chordwise scratches. Both of the airplane's landing gear showed that the brake discs were free and the wheels rotated freely. Both tires showed heavy longitudinally-running grass rubbing on the treads. Flight control continuity was confirmed. An examination of the airplane's engines, engine controls, and other airplane systems revealed no anomalies.

At 1329 cdt, the weather reporting station at the University of Illinois-Willard Airport, 8 nautical miles from the accident site at 244 degrees magnetic heading, reported 10 miles visibility, temperature 62 degrees F, dew point 44 degrees F, winds 010 degrees at 7 knots, and an altimeter of 30.13 inches of Mercury.

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