NYC06LA134
NYC06LA134

On May 30, 2006, at 1100 eastern daylight time, a Classic Aircraft Corporation Waco YMF, N369AS, was substantially damaged at Hagerstown Regional Airport (HGR), Hagerstown, Maryland, after a ground loop during the takeoff roll. The certificated commercial pilot and pilot rated passenger were uninjured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local commercial scenic flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to the pilot, on the morning of the accident, he arrived at the airport at approximately 0930 to meet with his pilot rated passenger, for a 45-minute sightseeing flight. After preflighting the airplane, the pilot obtained weather data from the airport's automated weather observation system and determined that the wind was coming out of the northeast at approximately 6 knots. He then contacted ground control and requested runway 2 for takeoff; however, he was advised by the ground controller, that runway 2 was closed, the wind was calm, and he was directed to taxi to runway 27. After a discussion with the ground controller about the winds and the active runway he taxied to runway 27.

After completing the engine runup, he taxied the airplane into position for takeoff. Since the ground controller reported the wind as "calm," he did not apply crosswind correction "into the aileron" at the start of the takeoff. During the takeoff roll, he had applied full throttle and the airplane was "tracking nicely" down the center of the runway, when the pilot realized that it was taking "more and more" right rudder to keep the airplane straight. He then "ran out of right rudder" and the airplane began to turn to the left. The airplane was "skipping," and felt like it was about to become airborne. He then tried to lift off, without result, so he "shut everything off." The airplane then departed the left side of the runway at approximately 50 mph. After traveling approximately 40 feet, the right main landing gear collapsed and the right wing impacted the ground. Approximately 40 feet later the airplane came to rest.

According to the pilot, after they exited the airplane, he asked the pilot rated passenger to estimate what speed and direction the wind was from. He stated that the pilot rated believed the wind speed was about 10 knots coming from the northeast. The pilot also advised that he watched the recovery process for approximately an hour and he observed the wind change direction and velocity "a number of times."

On June 4, 2006, in a letter to a federal aviation administration (FAA) inspector, the pilot advised that he no longer believed that the wind was a major factor in the accident. He advised the FAA inspector that video from an onboard camera system revealed that the airplane was tracking straight for approximately 1,000 feet and then veered suddenly to the left. The pilot also advised the inspector that photographs indicated the presence of a "left-turning" skid mark approximately at the point were the airplane began it's left turn.

On June 9, 2006, the Safety Board received a copy of the onboard video from the pilot. In correspondence included with the video, the pilot advised that it appeared to him that the turn started after the airplane had rolled 500 feet and not 1,000 feet as he had originally thought. The pilot also advised that the pilot rated passenger had been "invited by the pilot to stay on the controls lightly," but was cautioned not to "override" the pilot's inputs.

Review of the audio data by Safety Board investigators revealed that the tower did advise the pilot that the wind was calm, there was a discussion with the ground controller regarding the wind and runway in use, and the pilot described the windsock as looking "limp." A discussion with the pilot rated passenger regarding transfer of controls also did occur. Images of the windsock, with its small end pointing towards the ground, and the takeoff roll, which lasted approximately 18 seconds from power application until the airplane came to rest, were also captured.

Postaccident examinations of the airplane by both a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector and the airplane manufacturer, revealed no preimpact malfunctions of the rudder or tailwheel steering control systems.

The airplane had accrued 518 total aircraft hours. It's most recent annual inspection was completed on October 22, 2005.

According to FAA records, the pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single engine land. He reported 2,397.2 total hours of flight experience, 225 hours of which were in make and model. His most recent second-class medical certificate was issued on June 14, 2005.

According to the pilot, he had owned the accident airplane for approximately 3 years and had over 200 takeoffs and landings in the accident airplane.

The reported weather at HGR, at 1053, 7 minutes prior to the accident, included: variable winds at 3 knots, 5 miles visibility in haze, skies clear below 12,000 feet, temperature 87 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 66 degrees Fahrenheit, and an altimeter setting of 30.12 inches of mercury.

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