ERA10LA121
ERA10LA121

On January 19, 2010, at about 1150 eastern standard time, a Luscombe 8A, N2750K, incurred substantial damage following a loss of control after landing at the Madison Municipal Airport (52A), Madison, Georgia. The certificated commercial pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight conducted under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The pilot stated that he had landed on runway 14 and slowed to taxi speed in preparation to exit the runway. As he neared the taxiway, the airplane veered sharply to the right. He corrected with left brake and full left rudder. The airplane then veered left and exited the left side of the runway. Upon contact with the unimproved surface, the right main landing gear collapsed under the fuselage, resulting in substantial damage to the right wing. The pilot initially stated to the responding Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector that a gust of wind had caused him to ground loop. After later examining the airplane, the pilot stated that the fracture of the tailwheel leaf spring had caused the tailwheel assembly to separate from the airplane prior to the loss of directional control.

Examination of the accident site by the responding FAA inspector revealed that the tailwheel leaf spring was fractured. The tailwheel assembly remained attached to the tail of the airplane by Pull - Pull chains. A large skid mark, consistent with the main gear of the airplane, was observed initiating right of the runway centerline, curving left and departing the left side of the runway. A smaller squiggling skid mark, consistent with the tailwheel, was also observed curving to the left and departing the left side of the runway. The tailwheel mechanism is designed to move the tailwheel in conjunction with the rudder. If the rudder is fully deflected in either direction, the tailwheel disengages from the rudder and is able to swivel independently of the rudder.

The fractured leaf spring was sent to the NTSB Materials Laboratory for further analysis. The spring was found fractured through the mounting hole near one end. Examination of the fracture surfaces revealed features indicative of overstress separation of the leaf spring. No indications of any preexisting cracking or corrosion were noted on or near the fracture surface.

The airplaneā€™s maintenance records were not provided. According to the pilot, the last annual inspection was completed on July 1, 2009, and no recent maintenance had been performed to the airplane.

The nearest official weather reporting facility was the Greene County Regional Airport, located 16 miles east of the accident site. The 1200 surface weather observation was: wind 270 degrees at 7 knots, varying between 247 and 307 degrees; visibility 10 miles; sky condition clear; temperature 16 degrees Celsius (C), dew point 7 degrees C; altimeter setting 30.03 inches of mercury.

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