The pilot in the tailwheel-equipped Luscombe 8 reported that the airplane’s “current annual had not been completed, however several repairs were made in anticipation of completing the annual inspection, including the installation of new main landing gear brake linings, which are part of the wheel and not part of the shoe.”
Additionally, he reported that the plane was equipped with heel brakes, and that it had been 13 years since he had flown a tailwheel-equipped airplane with heel brakes.
He decided to perform a high-speed taxi at the airport in Orofino, Idaho, after the repairs were made “to verify controls and instrumentation,” but the plane became airborne. He decided that the safest action was to fly one pattern and land. He reported that during the landing roll, the airplane’s ground speed decreased to about 3 knots and the brakes locked up, then the airplane nosed over.
The airplane sustained substantial damage to the vertical stabilizer and the rudder.
A witness reported that the pilot made the repairs to the brakes. The airplane took off, completed one pattern and landed. During the landing roll the airplane nosed over. After the accident, the pilot told the witness that he applied the brakes and the airplane nosed over.
The pilot reported that there were no mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.
Probable Cause: The pilot’s improper brake application during the landing roll, which resulted in a nose-over. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s lack of recent experience using heel brakes.
SAFE CFI Commentary
SAFE‘s Master CFIs review these NTSB Accident Reports published in General Aviation News to provide questions and suggestions for improvement.
Nothing about this seems reasonable. Why a high-speed taxi for a “brake test” in a tailwheel? This ended with a non-current tailwheel pilot flying an unknown plane?
This May 2019 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.