This January 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: Luscombe 8A. Injuries: None. Location: Madison, Ga. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The pilot landed the tailwheel airplane on runway 14 and slowed to taxi speed in preparation to exit the runway. As the airplane neared the taxiway, it veered sharply to the right. The pilot corrected with left brake and full left rudder.
The airplane then veered left and went off the left side of the runway. The right main landing gear collapsed and the right wing was damaged. The pilot stated that he landed with a tailwind and a gust of wind had caused him to ground loop. He later stated that a fractured tailwheel leaf spring had caused a loss of directional control.
Metallurgical examination of the fractured leaf spring found no evidence of any preexisting cracking or corrosion, and the fracture surfaces were indicative of overstress. Tire marks observed on the runway were consistent with the main gear and tailwheel tires being in contact with the runway as the airplane departed.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain directional control while landing with a tailwind.
For more information: NTSB.gov. NTSB Identification: ERA10LA121