The private pilot was conducting a cross-country flight and decided to stop at an intermediate airport in Princeton, Minnesota, to refuel the Vans RV-7A.
When the plane touched down, it swerved left, exited the side of the runway, hit a runway edge light, and then nosed over in soft terrain. The two people aboard the airplane were seriously injured in the crash.
Examination of the runway revealed that a long black line, which extended from the centerline to where the runway edge light was struck, was imprinted in the pavement. It is likely that the imprint was created by the chine that was pronounced on both sides of the tire.
These ground signatures indicate that the nosewheel tire was likely flat upon touchdown, which led to the pilot’s inability to maintain directional control upon landing.
Probable cause: A flat nosewheel tire, which resulted in the pilot’s inability to maintain directional control on landing.
This July 2018 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.