This September 2009 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: Bozeman, Mont. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The flight instructor said he was giving the private pilot some training in tailwheel aircraft. He told the pilot that the rudder pedals were very sensitive. The pilot taxied onto the runway, lined up on the centerline, and applied power for takeoff.
The takeoff roll was normal until the tailwheel lifted off and the nose turned left. The flight instructor said the pilot overcorrected to the right and then back to the left. The CFI then got on the controls with the pilot, and, as the aircraft turned right a second time, the turn progressed into a ground loop. Subsequently, the left main landing gear separated from the fuselage and the left wing was bent up.
Probable cause: The failure of the pilot receiving instruction to maintain directional control during the takeoff roll and the flight instructor’s delayed corrective action.
For more information: NTSB.gov. NTSB Identification: WPR09CA435