Groundloop ends flight lesson

This September 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 Stearman. Injuries: None. Location: Bealton, Va. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: According to the CFI, the purpose of the flight was for the pilot under instruction to conduct air-work and grass field landings. The pilot receiving instruction was seated in the rear seat and the CFI was in the front seat.

The pilot receiving instruction stated that the CFI was on the flight controls in conjunction with him since it was going to be his first landing on a grass strip. The CFI stated that he told the pilot receiving instruction that the pilot getting instruction had the controls.

On the first touchdown, the tailwheel-equipped airplane bounced and became airborne, then touched down a second time. After the second touchdown, when the airplane began turning to the right, the flight instructor took over authority of the flight controls and applied left rudder, which was ineffective. The airplane then ground-looped 90° and hit a cluster of trees.

Post-accident examination revealed that the airplane incurred damage to both lower wings.

Probable cause: The pilot under instruction’s improper recovery from a bounced landing and the flight instructor’s delayed remedial action, which resulted in a ground loop and collision with trees.

For more information: NTSB Identification: ERA10CA500

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