NYC08LA273
NYC08LA273

On August 6, 2008, at 1400 eastern daylight time, an amateur-built Rutan-LongEZ, N622EZ, was substantially damaged while landing at Winder-Barrow Airport (WDR), Winder, Georgia. The certificated private pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the flight that originated at Gwinnett County Airport (LZU), Lawrenceville, Georgia. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the pilot, he purchased the airplane about 2 years prior to the accident; however, the accident flight was the first time he had flown it. The previous owner had flown about 7 hours in the airplane prior to the accident pilot purchasing it.

The accident pilot reported no maintenance had been performed to the brake system since he owned the airplane; however, brake fluid was added to both master cylinders about 8 weeks prior to the accident. At that time, the pilot performed taxi testing. He experienced "a little brake fade" which he described as a "softening of the brakes" or less resistance than normal. The "brake fade" was the same for the left and right brakes. The pilot did not think this was a problem but did further examine the brake system. His examination revealed both brake lines were clear and he did not observe any bubbles in the lines; however, he did observe about a 1/2-inch area of brake fluid that had "lost color" and had faded from red to pink. The pilot commented that the airplane did not have wheel pants installed at the time of the taxi testing. Additionally, the brake lines were independent of each other.

On the day of the accident, prior to the test flight, the pilot installed wheel pants on the airplane. He then performed about 2 hours of taxi testing and taxied about 1/8 mile to the runway, which included 5 left turns (steering on the ground was performed through differential braking). The pilot noted no problems with the brakes during taxi or before takeoff.

The takeoff and flight to WDR were uneventful, and the pilot flew a final approach to runway 31, at 80 knots, with the landing brake deployed. Prior to crossing the touchdown zone, he retracted the landing brake, touched down past the numbers and applied both brakes. The left rudder/brake pedal at first functioned normally, then "sank to a stop." The aircraft veered to the right, off the edge of the runway, where it struck a runway sign before coming to rest about midfield.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector examined the airplane after the accident. According to the inspector, when he tested the brakes, the left brake never engaged and the right brake functioned normally. An examination of the brake fluid revealed that the fluid in the line for the left brake was several shades lighter than the fluid in the line for the right brake. No additional mechanical malfunctions were noted with the brake system. The inspector also reported substantial damage to the fuselage and bulkhead.

Examination of the maintenance logbooks for the airplane revealed the airplane was issued a Special Airworthiness Certificate on November 9, 2005, at a tachometer time of 0 hours. The next entry in the airframe logbook was for a condition inspection completed on July 26, 2008, at a tachometer time of 7 hours. According to the logbook entry, during the inspection, the "wheels were serviced," and a retract test was performed on the nose gear. No anomalies were noted in the entry.

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