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NTSB Accident Report

NTSB ID:     NYC96LA166
Non-Injury: 2
Date: 08/10/96
Location: Bedford, MA
A/C Type: Bellanca 7ECA
Operator: Hanscom AFB Aero Club
N-Number: N5067C

Preliminary Report

On August 10, 1996 about 1515 eastern daylight time, N5067C, a Bellanca 7ECA, a personal flight, had a loss of control during landing on runway 29 at Hanscom Field Airport, Bedford, Massachusetts. Visual meteorological conditions existed. The certificated private pilot and passenger were not injured. The aircraft was substantially damaged. The local flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. The airplane went off the side of the runway during the landing followed by collapse of the right main gear. The pilot reported: "We came over the numbers at 80 mph indicated airspeed, and I flared the aircraft and we made a wheel landing, touching down at approximately 65 mph indicated airspeed. Everything was fine at first and then the aircraft veered to the right, into the wind. "I corrected with left rudder pedal, and as I did, the tail wheel settled onto the runway. The aircraft made an abrupt turn to the left, and I realized we were in a ground loop. I added a little power, got the tail wheel off the ground, and recovered from the ground loop, but we were heading off the left side of the runway, approximately 85 to 90 degrees from runway heading. I had regained control of the aircraft, but we didn't have enough room to maneuver back onto the runway. I closed the throttle and started braking the aircraft. When we departed the runway, I leaned the mixture, and continued braking. Everything was fine until we hit a bump, and the aircraft jerked violently to the left, resting on the right side."

Probable Cause Report

The airplane went off the side of the runway during the landing, followed by collapse of the right main gear. The pilot reported: "We came over the numbers at 80 mph indicated airspeed, and I flared the aircraft and we made a wheel landing, touching down at approximately 65 mph indicated airspeed. Everything was fine at first and then the aircraft veered to the right, into the wind. "I corrected with left rudder pedal, and as I did, the tail wheel settled onto the runway. The aircraft made an abrupt turn to the left, and I realized we were in a ground loop. I added a little power, got the tail wheel off the ground, and recovered from the ground loop, but we were heading off the left side of the runway, approximately 85 to 90 degrees from runway heading. I had regained control of the aircraft, but we didn't have enough room to maneuver back onto the runway. I closed the throttle and started braking the aircraft. When we departed the runway, I leaned the mixture, and continued braking. Everything was fine until we hit a bump, and the aircraft jerked violently to the left, resting on the right side." The pilot reported no mechanical malfunction. He stated the accident could have been prevented if he had "additional training in crosswind landings for tail dragger aircraft."

Probable Cause

The pilot's inadequate compensation for wind conditions, and his failure to maintain directional control, which resulted in a ground loop/swerve. The variable wind condition was a related factor.

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