Brakes break plane

This October 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: Piper Pacer. Injuries: None. Location: Pahrump, Nev. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The pilot had recently purchased the tailwheel-equipped airplane and was practicing landings. During his sixth landing of the day, he decided to try a wheel landing.

As the airplane touched down, it was responding erratically and pulled to the left toward the runway edge lights. The pilot attempted to abort the landing by applying full throttle but lost control of the airplane. The Piper went off the runway and into the brush and subsequently ground looped, which resulted in substantial damage to the left wing and fuselage.

The pilot reported that examination of the runway revealed a long curved skid mark from the left main landing gear, as if he were touching the brake.

Probable cause: The pilot’s inadvertent activation of brakes upon touchdown, resulting in a loss of directional control.

For more information: NTSB.gov. NTSB Identification: WPR11CA030

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