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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: ERA16LA174
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, April 30, 2016 in Keene, NH
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/26/2017
Aircraft: AMERICAN CHAMPION AIRCRAFT 7AC, registration: N85510
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The sport pilot of the tailwheel-equipped airplane had completed one touch-and-go landing uneventfully on a 6,201-ft-long, 100-ft-wide asphalt runway. During the second landing, the tailwheel began to "shimmy." Rather than apply forward control stick pressure to reduce weight on the tailwheel and alleviate the shimmy, the pilot held the control stick fully aft as the airplane departed the left side of the runway and impacted an approach path indicator light. Examination of the tailwheel locking mechanism revealed that it was worn and had unlocked during touchdown. The pilot should have been able to compensate for a tailwheel shimmy at touchdown by reducing the weight on the tailwheel. The condition of the tailwheel locking mechanism should have been checked during the last annual inspection; however, it is possible that the locking mechanism could have worn further during the 7 months between the most recent inspection and the accident flight.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • The disengagement of the tailwheel locking mechanism during the landing roll due to wear, and a subsequent loss of directional control. Contributing was the pilot's inadequate remedial action, which resulted in a runway excursion.