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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: GAA17CA212
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, March 28, 2017 in Stevensville, MT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/15/2017
Aircraft: THOMAS CRAIG E WITTMAN W-10, registration: N13XZ
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot of the tailwheel-equipped airplane reported that, after landing at an airport along his route, he observed a leak from the left master brake cylinder. He added that he “wiped up [a] considerable [amount of] brake fluid from the floorboard,” conducted a “thorough inspection” of the left brake, and then departed for another airport.
He further reported that, during the landing roll, the airplane weathervaned into the crosswind, and he applied “full rudder and [the] application of brake found no brake available.” He added that, after pumping the brakes, they began to function. The airplane veered off the runway to the right, and the left main landing gear collapsed.
The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage.


The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • The pilot’s decision to take off with a known master brake cylinder leak and his subsequent failure to maintain directional control during landing.