On October 26, 2007, at 1545 central daylight time, a Luscombe 8A, N2099K, was substantially damaged during takeoff from Ferguson Airport (82J), Pensacola, Florida. The certificated commercial pilot and passenger were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local flight conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The pilot departed from runway 36 at 82J, and was about 2 feet in the air when the airplane suddenly veered to the left. The pilot attempted to land on the remaining runway; however, the airplane continued left and impacted trees to the left of the runway.
Postaccident examination of the airplane revealed that the tail wheel leaf spring was separated from the tail wheel assembly, and the wheel was "jammed" against the rudder. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector who examined the airplane, the fracture surface appeared to be a fatigue failure.
The tail wheel assembly attached to the fuselage by two leaf springs, and two connector springs and chains (one on the right side and one on the left). A bolt and nut secured the leaf springs to the tail wheel assembly, and a clamp was installed over the connection. The leaf spring fracture occurred in the area that would have been under the clamp.
The airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on January 27, 2007, with no anomalies noted.
According to a representative of the company that owns the Type Certificate for the airplane, checking the tail wheel spring was a requirement during an annual inspection. Without removing the outer clip (secured by a bolt and nut), a pilot would not be able to check the spring during a preflight inspection.