On July 8, 2000, at 1307 Eastern Daylight Time, a Luscombe 8A, N1155B, was substantially damaged during an aborted takeoff at Clearview Airpark, Westminster, Maryland. The certificated private pilot/owner, and certificated flight instructor were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the instructional flight. No flight plan had been filed for the flight that was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91

The pilot reported that he had recently purchased the airplane and needed a tailwheel checkout, and secured the services of a flight instructor.

The airplane was equipped with control sticks at each pilot station, and dual rudder pedals. The left side rudder pedals also contained the only set of brakes for the airplane. The engine power controls were located between the seats, on the lower middle of the instrument panel.

The pilot reported he taxied to the gas pumps where the fuel tanks were filled, and then he taxied to the end of the runway for takeoff. The flight instructor reported that based upon the pilot's handling of the airplane and use of brakes, he felt the pilot could make the takeoff.

The pilot reported that after he initiated the takeoff roll, the airplane drifted right, and then departed the right side of the runway. He did not retard the throttle and instead tried to bring the airplane back onto the runway, with both hands on the control stick. The airplane abruptly crossed over the runway, on a heading about 45 degrees left of the runway. After crossing over the runway, the pilot closed the throttle, but he did not believe he had used the brakes. The airplane struck the edge of a hanger with the right wing and pivoted until the left wing also struck the hanger.

The pilot reported that things happened much more quickly than he expected. He had attempted to correct the directional control, first with ailerons, and then with rudder control; however, the airplane did not respond as he had expected.

The flight instructor reported that he did not initially retard the throttle when the airplane departed the runway to the right, and that the pilot did retard the throttle once they had crossed over the runway to the left, and were headed towards the hanger. He said he was unable to stop the airplane after the throttle was closed due to no brakes on his side of the airplane.

An inspector from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), reported that he observed tire marks in the grass adjacent to the runway. The tire marks first appeared about 475 feet from the departure end, and ran parallel to the runway on the right side for about 200 feet. The tire marks then crossed back over the runway to the left, and continued for another 225 feet, terminating where the airplane struck the hanger.

Runway 31 was 1,840 feet long, 30 feet wide, and had an asphalt surface.

The pilot had accumulated about 125 hours of flight experience, with his last tailwheel experience over 20 years ago.

The flight instructor reported that he had accumulated over 6,200 hours of flight experience, including over 100 hours in tailwheel type airplanes. He reported that due to a lack of recent tailwheel experience he had received a tail wheel checkout in a Piper J3 before he flew in the Luscombe.

Both pilots confirmed that no takeoff briefing had been conducted, nor was transfer of control of the airplane ever discussed.

Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsis
Return to Query Page