This December 2007 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: RV-7A; Location: Elmendorf, Texas; Injuries: 1 Minor; Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The private pilot reported a normal landing on a private 2,600-foot grass airstrip, but about halfway down the runway, the airplane’s nose suddenly popped back into the air. When it came back down there was a shudder in the nose wheel. The airplane flipped forward and landed on its back.
The pilot inspected the runway and reported that it appeared the nose wheel hit the side of a gopher mound, which caused the nose to pitch up. About 36 feet from the mound, and about 6 feet from where the nose wheel contacted the surface, the nose wheel track showed signs of widening. The wheel track got progressively wider and deeper until the point where the plane overturned.
Investigators noted that the aircraft had not been modified with the kit manufacturer’s service bulletin, which increased the nose fork axle-to-ground clearance. The pilot added that he didn’t think the added clearance would have helped prevent the accident.
Probable cause: The failure of the nose landing gear. A contributing factor was the mound/uneven runway surface.
For more information: NTSB.gov