Brakes break plane

This June 2010 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.

Aircraft: Boeing B75N1. Injuries: None. Location: Arlington, Va. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The 875-hour pilot was flying lead in a formation. As he entered the flare to land at an airspeed of about 70 mph, he planned to keep the airplane’s tail in the air and roll farther down the runway to allow more room for the following airplanes in his formation.

When the wheels touched the runway, he inadvertently applied the wheel brakes. Using the brakes while touching down at high speed in this type of airplane, which has a high center of gravity, caused it to flip over.

The pilot stated that he seldom used the brakes in the Stearman, so he was not familiar with the feel and effectiveness of the wheel brakes.

Probable cause: The pilot’s inadvertent use of the wheel brakes at high speed during the touchdown phase of the landing. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s lack of familiarity with the feel and effectiveness of the wheel brakes.

For more information: NTSB Identification: DCA10FA066



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