On January 14, 2001, at 1230 hours Pacific standard time, a Purvis/Thorpe T-18, N39JP, made a hard landing, veered off runway 6, and collided with brush at the Chiriaco Summit Airport, Chiriaco Summit, California. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The pilot borrowed the airplane from the owner, and was operating it under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. Both certified flight instructors (CFI) were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the instructional flight that departed from the Bermuda Dunes, California, airport. The flight was scheduled to terminate at the Chiriaco Summit airport. No flight plan had been filed. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The purpose of the flight was to provide transition training for the second CFI in a conventional geared airplane.
In the CFI's written statement, he reported that the owner of the airplane had asked him to check out his CFI (the owner's) in the owner's airplane. The owner had to meet the 15-hour insurance requirement and his CFI lived closer to him than the first CFI.
He met the other pilot the morning of the accident, gave a preflight briefing, and then flew to Thermal, California. While en route to Thermal the second pilot did some air work. The CFI stated that there no problems with that portion of the flight. He did note that the right wing tended to drop when stalled.
The CFI reported making two landings and the second pilot made seven landings. The CFI stated at times the landings were bumpy and the other pilot landed farther down the runway, but nothing out of the ordinary. He thought the other pilot's landings were safe. They flew to Bermuda Dunes for lunch, but the restaurant was not open. He indicated that the other pilot's landing was "nice."
Both pilots decided to go to Chiriaco Summit for lunch. The CFI recommended a landing to the west, but the second pilot elected to land straight in to the east. The CFI indicated that touchdown was good except that the second pilot brought the stick back and the airplane flew into the air. A few feet above the ground the right wing dropped and the second pilot advanced the throttle full forward. The airplane came back down on the runway and turned about 45 degrees to the left. The CFI stated that the second pilot expected the airplane would fly prior to exiting the runway and into the bushes. Both pilots were on the rudder and trying to get the tail up, but the brush slowed them down before they were able to get to the airplane off the ground.
In the second pilot's written statement to the Safety Board he indicated that after touchdown the airplane bounced into the air. He added power and landed farther down the runway. The airplane slowed down and then made a sharp turn to the left coming to rest the brush along side the runway.
A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector interviewed both pilots. The CFI stated that he was providing a checkout to the second pilot at the time of the accident. The CFI stated that he was "lax" on monitoring the flight controls during the landing at the accident airport because the second pilot had made "acceptable" landings earlier in the day. When the second pilot added power on the second landing after the bounce, he (the CFI) failed to initially add right rudder to compensate for an increase in engine torque. Prior to the airplane's departure from the runway, the CFI stated that both pilot's applied full right rudder to stop the airplane from departing the runway.
The other pilot reported to the FAA inspector that the airplane landed hard on the numbers and bounced back into the air. He increased the power and flew down the runway to gain airplane control and make another attempt to land. When the airplane touched down the second time it skidded off the runway. He further reported that he applied full right rudder to straighten out and return the airplane to the runway centerline. It had no affect, and the airplane came to rest about 300 feet north of the approach end of runway 06. He also stated that he did not have any previous experience flying this type of airplane.
An Airframe and Power plant (A & P) mechanic inspected the airplane on scene on January 16, 2001. He established operation and continuity of the primary flight controls and their respective linkages. A brake check was completed with no discrepancies noted. Rudder controls were found to function properly, with full travel established, and no slack observed. He stated that there were no inconsistencies noted with the stearable tailwheel or the engine.