SEA06CA149
SEA06CA149

On July 25, 2006, at 1728 Pacific daylight time, a Maule M-7-235C, N15SN, was substantially damaged when it ground looped during a landing roll at Auburn Municipal Airport, Auburn, Washington. The private pilot, the sole occupant on board, was not injured. The pilot/owner was operating the airplane under Title 14 CFR Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal cross-country flight which had originated from Vaughan Ranch Airfield, Port Orchard, Washington, approximately 30 minutes before the accident. The pilot had not filed a flight plan.

The pilot said that he noticed that the right clevis of the right tail wheel spring to the wheel's steering arm was starting to open several hours before a 10 hour maintenance inspection. The mechanic crimped the clevis during this inspection. After the inspection was completed, the pilot returned to his home airport and landed on runway 16 with a direct right crosswind of 5-10 knots. The pilot said that his landing was a normal right cross-wind landing and the airplane rolled out normally for 200-300 yards. He said that the airplane started to turn right, and he applied full left rudder with no effect [a photograph of the accident scene showed a serpentine black skip mark approximately 20 feet to the left of the 75 foot wide runway center line]. The pilot said that the nose of the aircraft had started to swing sharply to the right before he could "think" of using differential braking. The airplane exited the right side of the runway and came to rest on its left wing tip, left main landing gear, and engine. The left wing and aileron were bent and wrinkled.

Postaccident examination of the tail wheel assembly revealed that the clevis which connected the right tail wheel spring to the wheel's steering arm was disconnected. It was not determined why the tail wheel shimmied during the landing roll. At the time of the accident, the pilot had approximately 99 hours of flight experience, with 23 hours in make and model.

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