The flight instructor/owner and pilot-rated passenger departed the local airport in a tailwheel-equipped Piper PA-18A to inspect ranch property and livestock near Wheatland, Wyo. The pilots planned to land in a pasture.
The CFI was in the rear seat of the tandem cockpit airplane, while the pilot in the front seat was on the controls.
During the approach the instructor’s forward visibility was limited, and he failed to see that they were carrying excess airspeed and had progressed too far down the airstrip for a normal landing.
The front-seat pilot, seeing the end of the airstrip approaching rapidly, applied the brakes sharply. The CFI directed the pilot to “relax” and allow the tail to settle.
The brakes abruptly grabbed a second time and the tail came up sharply, causing the propeller to strike the ground.
The airplane slid on its nose, veered left, and flipped onto its back. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and both wings.
The NTSB determined the probable cause as the front seat pilot’s excessive approach speed and subsequent brake application during the landing, which resulted in a nose-over. Contributing to the accident was the instructor’s failure to maintain situational awareness.
NTSB Identification: WPR14CA152
This March 2014 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.