MIA02LA097
MIA02LA097

On May 22, 2002, about 0542 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 206H, N24013, registered to Air Carriers, Inc., operating as a Title 14 CFR Part 91 positioning flight, sustained a taxi accident on the Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport, Sarasota, Florida. Visual night meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight plan had been filed for Saint Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport. The aircraft received substantial damage, and the airline transport-rated pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. The flight was taxiing for takeoff when the accident occurred.

According to the FAA Form 8020-9, "Aircraft Accident/Incident Preliminary Notice", that was sent from Sarasota tower personnel to the FAA, Tampa FSDO, the following was noted, "Pilot reported that he ran off the end of taxiway "D" due to excessive tailwind".

According to the pilot's statement to the Manatee Airport Authority, he noticed an animal out of the corner of his eye and slammed on his brakes, causing him to lose control and leave the taxiway, hitting an electrical vat, and causing the aircraft to flip.

According to the pilot's statement to the FAA, as he was taxiing southwest on taxiway "D" for takeoff from runway 04, he became distracted, (possibly by an animal that barely caught his eye off the left side of the aircraft) in the darkness, and missed the turn onto the runway. The aircraft ran off the end of the taxiway into the sand and grass airport infield area, the nose gear and propeller collided with a square concrete wiring junction box, and the aircraft sustained a nose over. The pilot said there were no mechanical malfunctions of his aircraft at the time of the accident interview.

According to an FAA inspector, the pilot was taxiing down taxiway "D". There are tire skid marks where the taxiway starts to turn to the runway. The left main tire mark was measured at over 102 feet. The right main tire mark was measured at over 77 feet, and there are marks left by the nose wheel of over 68 feet. Following the excursion off the taxiway, the skid marks continue for another 29 feet until impact between the nose wheel and a concrete junction box, where the nose wheel was found separated from the nose gear strut. The aircraft was found inverted about a plane-length beyond the junction box, having flipped over 180 degrees, heading in the opposite direction from the original taxi direction.

An FAA certified Aircraft Inspector examined the wreckage, post accident. Brake pad thickness measured over twice the minimum thickness required by Cessna maintenance specifications. There were no indications of hydraulic fluid leakage, except that the aircraft was still in an inverted position on a flat-bed trailer, and hydraulic fluid had leaked out of the master cylinders through the vent holes.

According to the pilot's written statement sent to the NTSB, he was taxiing the aircraft to runway 04 on taxiway "D" at a normal taxi speed, and as he approached the hold short line to runway 04, he applied brakes, but the brakes grabbed, and the aircraft did not decelerate. The aircraft exited the taxiway into the grass, made contact with the cement slab, pitched down, and had just enough energy to flip inverted. During a subsequent telephone conversation with the NTSB on June 12, 2002, the pilot stated that he was, "going fast" and that he, "might have unconsciously picked up speed because [his direction of taxi was] directly downwind, and it was pitch black." He further mentioned being distracted by either an animal or lights to his left about 200 yards. That location would have corresponded to the ramp area and terminal across runway 04, and the pilot mentioned observing an aircraft in that area being either catered or loaded. He stated his scheduled departure time was 0530 and that engine start was 0538 for the empty ferry flight to Saint Petersburg-Clearwater. He stated the taxiways were not particularly wet, as with morning dew. The reported surface winds at 0553 for the airport were from 030 degrees at 10 knots.

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