The pilot of the tailwheel equipped Fairchild M62A reported that after landing on the 2,400′ by 100′ private grass runway in Valley Center, Kansas, he pulled off to the right of the runway about 2/3 of the way down with his engine at idle power to watch a Stearman, which he had been flying in tandem with, land.
According to the Fairchild pilot, the Stearman appeared to be approaching a little fast, touched down about 1/2 way down the runway, and started drifting to the right, toward the stopped Fairchild.
The Stearman pilot reported that during the landing roll he was looking out of the left side of the Stearman, misjudged the width of the grass runway, and “clipped the Fairchild on the edge of the runway.”
The Stearman then hit a tree, resulting in substantial damage to the lower left wing and both right wings. The Fairchild sustained substantial damage to the engine cowl and firewall.
The Fairchild pilot did not report any mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.
The Stearman pilot reported that it was possible that the tailwheel bracket was broken prior to the airplane colliding with the Fairchild and hitting trees.
In a post-accident interview with the investigator-in-charge, the Stearman pilot said that during the initial preflight and taxi of the airplane, the tailwheel bracket “looked good” and he had no issues steering during taxi and takeoff.
Probable cause: The Stearman pilot’s failure to maintain directional control during the landing roll and to see and avoid the airplane stopped on the edge of the runway.
NTSB Identification: GAA17CA053B
This October 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.