LAX04CA160
LAX04CA160

On March 11, 2004, about 1600 mountain standard time, a Cessna 195A, N9869A, ground looped while attempting to land at Gila Bend Municipal Airport (E63), Gila Bend, Arizona. The pilot/owner was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The private pilot and certified flight instructor (CFI) were not injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. The instructional cross-country flight departed Wickenburg Municipal Airport (E25), Wickenburg, Arizona, about 1500, with the planned destination of E63. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan had not been filed.

In a written statement, the pilot reported that he was attempting to land on runway 04. After touchdown, he lost control of the airplane and ground looped. He had bought the airplane the day before the accident and had accumulated 3.6 hours of flight time in the same make and model in the last 30 days. The pilot reported no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane.

In a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge, the CFI reported that the purpose of the flight was to give the pilot a check out. After completing several full stall landings at E25, they turned off the runway with the intention to taxi back to the runway for another departure. While turning onto the taxiway, the pilot stated that the airplane would not turn and the steering controls had become ineffectual. The CFI instructed him to alternate pressure on the rudder pedals in an effort to unlock the tail wheel. The steering worked normally after that, and they departed the airport without incident.

The CFI and pilot continued the flight en route to E63, where the wind conditions were light. They completed about four full stall landings, all of which the pilot kept drifting to the left during the landing roll. On the next landing attempt, the pilot touched down and again drifted to the left. The CFI instructed him to input left rudder, but the pilot was unable to steer due to the tail wheel locking. The airplane began a long turn to the right and ground looped in the same direction.

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