The commercial pilot was practicing approaches and touch-and-go landings in the Piper PA28 at the airport in Simsbury, Connecticut.
The pilot reported that, during taxi for takeoff, the wheel brakes were “sluggish.” When he was attempting a full-stop landing at the destination airport, the brakes “failed.”
The pilot steered the airplane off the runway to avoid a fence and hit a ditch, which resulted in substantial damage to the left wing.
A post-accident examination revealed that the left main landing gear separated from the airplane during the ground collision, and there was evidence of pre-existing hydraulic fluid leakage where the fluid line fitting connected to the wheel brake assembly.
Additionally, the right main landing gear wheel brake assembly was not attached to the trunnion by the required AN bolts, and the hydraulic fluid line fitting was not attached to the brake assembly.
According to the maintenance logbooks, a 100-hour inspection was completed 18 days before the accident. The logbook entry noted servicing of all tires, wheels, brakes, and brake fluid.
Given that the right main landing gear hydraulic fluid line was detached from its respective brake assembly, it is likely that maintenance personnel did not adequately inspect the wheel brake system, and the right brake failed due to a loss of hydraulic fluid.
Probable cause: Maintenance personnel’s inadequate inspection of the wheel brake system during the airplane’s most recent 100-hour inspection, which resulted in a loss of hydraulic fluid and the pilot’s inability to control the airplane during the landing.
This October 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.