LAX07CA117
LAX07CA117

On March 30, 2007, at 1410 Pacific daylight time, an experimental amateur built Edwards Wag-A-Bond, N714DE, ground looped during the landing rollout on runway 02L at Jean Airport (0L7), Jean, Nevada. The airline transport pilot/owner/builder operated the personal flight under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local area flight that departed North Las Vegas Airport (VGT), Las Vegas, Nevada, about 1207. No flight plan had been filed.

The National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge (IIC) interviewed the pilot. The pilot stated that the airplane was equipped with conventional landing gear. The landing was normal; however, on the lading rollout, as the tail wheel touched the runway surface, it started to "shimmy badly." He was not able to maintain airplane control, and the airplane ground looped. The pilot reported a light right crosswind.

In the pilot's written statement, he reported that the airplane had a total airframe time of 7.3 hours. He had been conducting a flight test at the time, and had been flying for about 1.5 hours. He had been planning on doing touch-and-go takeoffs and landings at Jean, and then a full stop landing. No discrepancies were noted with the touch-and-go takeoffs and landings; the landings were done utilizing a "wheel landing technique." On the full stop landing, the pilot reported that the tail wheel touched down at an airspeed of about 30 miles per hour. After the tail wheel contacted the pavement, he noted a "high frequency shimmy," and the airplane swerved to the right. He attempted to correct the direction of travel with the application of the left brake. The airplane pivoted on the right main landing gear, which caused the left main landing gear to fold under the airplane. The left wing tip and propeller struck the runway.

The pilot reported a left wheel skid mark on the runway. He also reported that he found the intact compression springs for the tail wheel rudder steering assembly about 75 feet behind where the airplane came to rest, near the runway edge. He also reported that on this flight he had relocated 22 pounds of weight to the aft fuselage station to simulate a center of gravity (CG) condition for flight test purposes. The weight shift remained well within the allowable CG range; however, "taking into consideration the moment arm of the additional weight, it may have caused the tail wheel to initiate an instability when contacting the ground."

A Federal Aviation Administration airworthiness inspector examined the airframe and noted that the left forward landing gear bracket had separated at its weld point, but had not become completely detached. The tail wheel showed no evidence of distortion, but was loose at its attachment point.

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