On April 15, 2004, about 1231 eastern daylight time, a North American SNJ-5B, N31443, registered to and operated by Classic Air, Inc., ran off the right side of runway 27 (designated as runway 27 left for the Sun and Fun Fly In) during landing roll at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, Lakeland, Florida, collapsing the left main landing gear, bending the left wing, and nosing down. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed. The airline transport rated pilot and commercial-rated passenger were not injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The flight last departed Suwannee County Airport, Live Oak, Florida, the same day, about 1130.

The pilot stated the owner of the airplane had asked the pilot-rated passenger to fly the airplane to Lakeland for the Sun and Fun Fly In. He had just checked her out in the airplane the weekend before. The owner asked him to fly in the back seat with her because he had more experience in the airplane. He stated that his experience from the backseat was very limited. He found out after the accident that the pilot-rated passenger had not been checked out in the airplane to the point of solo. He stated that when things started to go bad on the landing there was a lack of experience which may be attributable to the outcome. The reason for why the airplane didn't respond to control inputs is still being questioned by he and the pilot-rated passenger. He stated he was at the controls from the back seat. The control tower operator told them to land mid-field. He came down on final at 80 knots and flew in ground effect until approximately the mid-field point. He retarded the throttle to idle and the airplane settled nicely to the runway. The airplane rose back into the air slightly and he held the control stick all the way aft. The airplane settled again very smoothly then the tail rose up and the nose lurched to the right. The tail came back down and he was holding left rudder to correct the direction. The tail came up again and the nose lurched to the right again. The airplane them began hopping sideways before it left the runway and the left landing gear collapsed. The airplane has had a history of the brakes intermittently grabbing and catching up, which makes him suspect that as a possible cause, but he can not say definitely. This history was verified by the lead mechanic of the airplane.

Postaccident examination of the accident site by NTSB and FAA Investigators showed the airplane had departed the right side of runway 27 Left, coming to rest nose down in the grass between taxiways A3 and A4. Marks from the left and right main landing gear tires were visible on the runway until the airplane departed the runway surface. The left landing gear had collapsed when the landing gear strut failed in overload at the time the gear made contact with the soft dirt at the edge of the runway. The left wing had contacted the ground and was bent up at the outboard 3 feet. After recovery of the airplane from the runway, NTSB and FAA Investigators examined the landing gear, tires, and brakes. The left and right main landing gear tires had no worn or scuff spots on them. The left and right main landing gear brakes operated normally. The tail landing gear was rotated 90 degrees to the normal position after the accident, but the gear rotated freely back to the normal position and locked in the detent.

The owner of the airplane stated after the accident that he previously had a brake malfunction with the accident airplane, but he repaired the brakes and had not had a reoccurence of the brake problem. He stated that after the accident he performed a temporary repair to the left wing of the airplane and after receiving an FAA ferry permit, ferried the airplane to his home airport. He stated that during the ferry flight he experienced no evidence of failure or malfunction of the wheel brakes or any other components of the airplane. He stated that the SNJ airplane is normally flown from the front seat and that it is harder to land from the rear seat.

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