Inadvertent brake application bends Cessna

Aircraft: Cessna 140. Injuries: None. Location: Winnsboro, S.C. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The pilot of the tailwheel-equipped airplane allowed his pilot-rated passenger to make a wheel landing. During the landing roll, the airplane drifted to the right and in response the pilot took control and attempted to correct with left rudder input. The airplane continued to veer and he applied left brake.

Both pilots braced themselves, and both inadvertently depressed both sets of brake pedals at the same time. The excessive brake pressure made the brakes lock and the airplane nosed over, resulting in substantial damage to the wings, fuselage, and vertical stabilizer.

The pilot reported there were no pre-impact mechanical anomalies with the airplane.

Probable cause: The excessive brake inputs by both pilots during the landing roll resulting in the airplane nosing over.

NTSB Identification: ERA11CA097

This December 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.


  1. Vaughn S. Price says

    A classic example of inadequate instruction in drift control both in the air and after touchdown, especially if you are a wheel landing nut. It takes no skill to wheel land. Old saying “if you can’t land it, wheel it”.The wing is still flying with a wheel landing and drift can occur during roll out. A qualified, properly taught Pilot, drifting right would use down Aileron to pull the wing back and aline the aircraft with the runway. Been there, done that in a real top heavy ground looper called a Howard DGA-15P. BEST CURE LEARN TO TOUCH DOWN LIKE THE BIRDS, wing stops flying, wheels touch. In that order, nose wheel or tail wheel, and I have flown 139 different models, mostly tail wheels but I did land the DC-3 on the main gear

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