On October 9, 2004, approximately 1100 central daylight time, a Bellanca 7ECA tail-wheel equipped airplane, N5529K, was substantially damaged when it collided with a bail of hay at the Hearne Municipal Airport (LHB) near Hearne, Texas. The commercial pilot was not injured, and one passenger sustained minor injuries. The single-engine airplane was owned and operated by Tailwinds Aviation of Grand Prairie, Texas. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed for the personal flight conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

In a telephone interview with an NTSB representative, the 420-hour pilot reported that he made a 180-degree turn after landing on runway 36 at LHB, and was taxiing to the main ramp at a speed of approximately 30 knots with an 8-knot quartering tailwind. When the ramp was approximately 500-600 feet ahead, the pilot decreased power, and the airplane began to veer off to the left. Subsequently, the pilot applied right rudder and tapped on the left brake. When the airplane continued to veer to the left, the pilot pulled the stick toward himself to force the tail wheel on to the ground. The pilot then applied pressure to both brakes and reported that they were not effective. The airplane collided with a bail of hay approximately 200 feet to the left of the runway. Upon impact, the airplane nosed over and came to rest in an inverted position.

Examination of the airplane by an NTSB representative revealed that the rudder and left wing brace were structurally damaged. Additionally, the propeller assembly was detached from the aircraft.

On October 14, 2004, a representative from the NTSB performed an examination of the brake system and found that the brake fluid lines were empty of fluid; however, the airplane had come to rest in an inverted position, and the red, oily brake fluid had leaked from the vent of the fluid reservoir and was found in the cockpit above the reservoir, leaking from the engine cowling. A substantial amount of brake fluid was also reported to be found on the ground beneath the engine cowling at the site of the accident. When brake fluid was added through the fluid ports, the brakes worked properly and no leaks were found in the lines. The brake pads were worn to approximately 1/4-inch in thickness, and the left brake rotor exhibited grooves; however, the brakes were fully effective when pressure was applied.

At 1049, the automated weather observing system at LHB reported wind from 340 degrees at 7 knots, 10 statute miles visibility, an overcast sky at 900 feet, temperature 70 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 62 degrees Fahrenheit, and a barometric pressure setting of 29.93 inches of Mercury.

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