CEN11LA614
CEN11LA614

On September 1, 2011, about 0815 central daylight time, an Aeronca 7AC, N83533, was damaged when it departed the right side of runway 9 and struck an adjacent ditch while landing at the Porter County Regional Airport (VPZ), Valparaiso, Indiana. The pilot and passenger were not injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage longerons. The aircraft was registered to Skyview Aviation LLC, and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not operated on a flight plan. The flight originated from the Greenville Municipal Airport (6D6), Greenville, Michigan about 0600.

The pilot reported that she made a wheel landing in the tail wheel equipped airplane holding the tail up until the tail wheel settled onto the runway. She said that once the tail wheel contacted the runway the airplane turned to the right which she countered by applying left rudder. The airplane continued to turn to the right. The pilot reported that she applied left brake which had no effect. The pilot reported that at this point, the airplane was in the grass adjacent to the runway and was approaching a hill/ditch. She applied both brakes, but only the right brake was effective which caused the airplane to turn more to the right. The airplane went over the hill/ditch and the landing gear collapsed.

The pilot reported that there was excessive play found in the tail wheel assembly, and that the left brake was not functional.

Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration Inspectors after the accident revealed no anomalies with regard to the left brake system of the airplane. Some wear of the tailwheel assembly was noted, but the tail wheel was operational and appeared to be in an airworthy condition.

Photographs of the runway after the accident showed skid mark evidence that the airplane's tail wheel experienced shimmy during the landing. The shimmy continued to the side of the runway.

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