According to the pilot of the Cessna 172, he made a normal landing, but the plane began to veer left of the centerline during the landing roll.
He corrected with right rudder and heard a “thump” as if something affixed to the airplane was being dragged, and the rudder steering became ineffective.
He recalled that, with constant hard right rudder input, coupled with dynamic braking, he turned the airplane to the right, the nose landing gear collapsed, and the plane skidded to a stop at the airport in Arlington, Wash.
The airplane sustained substantial damage to the firewall.
Photographs provided by the FAA inspector revealed that the right steering rod end had failed and that the bolts of the nose gear firewall mount were pulled from the firewall.
The nose gear assembly had rotated more than 90° to the left and was found underneath the fuselage.
The NTSB investigator-in-charge asked that the two additional airplanes in the operator’s inventory be inspected. The operator found that the steering rod ends of the inspected airplanes were bent and showed signs of cracking between the threads. The steering bungees were visually inspected, however they could not be thoroughly inspected without damaging the component.
Probable cause: The failure of the airplane’s right steering rod end, which resulted in the pilot’s inability to maintain directional control.
NTSB Identification: GAA16CA286
This June 2016 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.