DEN08LA031
DEN08LA031

On November 15, 2007, at 1125 mountain standard time, an Evektor-Aerotechnik Sportstar Plus single-engine special light-sport airplane, N617EV, sustained substantial damage following a loss of control during landing at the Erie Municipal Airport (EIK), Erie, Colorado. The flight instructor and student sport pilot were not injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by Skyraider Aviation Inc., Erie, Colorado. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed for the Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight. The local flight departed EIK at 1045.

According to the flight instructor, the airplane's preflight and local flight to the practice area were normal and no anomalies were noted. During the final approach for a full stop landing, the airplane was configured to an airspeed of 60 knots and a flap setting of 15 degrees. The instructor reported, "The airplane was flared and touched down on the main wheels then the nose wheel was lowered at approximately A2 taxiway slightly right of [runway] centerline. I instructed the student that we would continue to roll-out and decelerate to the end of the runway to avoid using to much brake or rudder pressure due to their extreme sensitivity. I then instructed the student to apply light rudder pressure to realign the aircraft with the runway centerline. Ample left rudder pressure was applied and countered with opposite right rudder pressure resulting in pilot induced oscillations. The aircraft swerved dramatically from left to right and then again to the left and right where it exited the runway surface. The plane came to a stop in a drainage ditch on the right side of runway 33 and slightly north of the closed runway." During the traffic pattern and landing, the flight instructor and student were "both on the airplane controls." The winds were reported as calm during the accident.

According to the Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1) submitted by the operator, at the time of the accident, the flight instructor had accumulated 81 flight hours in the accident airplane make and model.

According to the manufacturer, the Sportstar is a light sport aircraft built by Evektor-Aerotechnik, a certified aircraft manufacturer from the country of the Czech Republic. It is configured with a 2-seat side-by-side arrangement and dual flight controls. The airplane is fitted with a tricycle landing gear with a steerable nose wheel controlled by push-pull rods connected to the ruder pedals. The main landing gear wheels are equipped with hydraulic brakes operated by the toe brake pedals attached to the tops of the rudder pedals. Directional control can be maintained by means of the steerable nose wheel, by using differential pressure on the main landing gear brakes, or by a combination of both methods. The flight training supplement for the Sportstar, published by the aircraft manufacturer, instructs pilots not to apply main wheel brakes unintentionally when taxiing. The flight training supplement also states that aircraft steering at higher speeds is more sensitive, therefore smaller deflections of the rudder control pedals are required to maintain directional control.

Examination of the airplane by the NTSB investigator-in-charge revealed the nose gear was bent aft and the firewall was buckled.

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