14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, September 03, 2014 in Vinton, IA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/11/2015
Aircraft: DAVIS BENNY CHRISTEN EAGLE II, registration: N229HP
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.
NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
The pilot reported that the airplane touched down on the runway just before the intersection with the crossing runway. The airplane subsequently encountered a “significant dip and rise” in the pavement at the intersection, and the airplane became airborne again. The pilot reported that a crown to the pavement on the landing runway also tended to pull the airplane toward the left side of the runway. The left main landing gear wheel subsequently departed the left side of the runway pavement. During the pilot's attempt to return to the runway, the landing gear encountered the edge of the pavement, causing the left landing gear to collapse. The pilot reported that there were no failures or malfunctions with the airplane before the accident. A second pilot reported a runway excursion on landing after encountering the uneven pavement; however, his airplane was not damaged.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's loss of directional control during landing after the airplane encountered uneven pavement at the intersection with a crossing runway.
On September 3, 2014, about 1100 central daylight time, a Davis Benny Christen Eagle II airplane, N229HP, sustained substantial damage after a runway excursion during landing on runway 16 (2,500 feet by 50 feet, asphalt) at the Vinton Veterans Memorial Airpark (VTI), Vinton, Iowa. The pilot was not injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not operated on a flight plan. The flight originated from the Joliet Regional Airport (JOT), Joliet, Illinois, about 0945.
The pilot reported that the airplane touched down on runway 16 just before the intersection with runway 9/27. The runway 9/27 intersection was located about 620 feet from the runway 16 approach threshold. He noted that there was a "significant dip and rise" at the intersection, which caused the airplane to become airborne again. He added that there was also a "pronounced crown" to runway 16 that tended to pull the airplane toward the left side of the runway. The left main landing gear wheel subsequently departed the left side of the runway pavement. Upon the pilot's attempt to return to the runway, the landing gear encountered the edge of the pavement, causing it to collapse. The pilot reported there were no failures or malfunctions with the airplane before the accident.
A witness recalled that the airplane touched down on runway 16, north of the intersection with runway 9/27. Within about one second, the airplane encountered the difference in the pavement height at the runway intersection causing it to become airborne again. The airplane drifted toward the right side of the runway. The pilot attempted to correct, but the airplane subsequently went off the left side of the runway. The witness noted that the airplane did not ground loop during the landing. The airplane came to rest facing west, with the nose on the runway and the tail in the grass.
The same witness, who was also a local pilot, stated that he normally slows the airplane before the runway intersection or lands past it. He added if a pilot landed near the intersection, they are going to get "hit pretty hard."
A second pilot reported he landed on runway 16 about one hour after the accident. He recalled touching down near the runway threshold; however, his airplane became airborne again due to a one or two foot drop off at the intersection with runway 09/27. Immediately after the runway intersection, the level of the pavement rose again, which caused his airplane to "bounce." His airplane drifted to the left and into the grass adjacent to the runway; however, his airplane was not damaged.
A member of the airport commission reported that there was an asphalt overlay on runway 16/34 in 2001. The pavement is uneven at the intersection with runway 9 -27; however, she did not recall it ever being a problem in the past. She also noted that the asphalt runway has a crown to facilitate drainage.
The pilot reported the wind was from 170 degrees at 11 knots, gusting to 16 knots, at the time of the accident.
Flight Standards District Office: FAA Des Moines FSDO-61
BRETT A. SCHUCK: http://registry.faa.gov/N229HP
A biplane racer who won a major event at last year's Nationals in Reno, Nevada, saw his hopes for victory again this year dashed after a runway mishap at the Vinton airport Wednesday.
Brett Schuck of Elkhart, Ind., made a fuel stop in Vinton as he attempted to complete the 1,766.33 mile flight from his home town to the race site.
But Schuck's landing gear broke when his wheel touched down, causing the plane to skid along the runway on its nose. The pilot escaped injury, but the plane's wings and propellers, along with the landing gear, were damaged.
The plane, called Fowl Play, is an aerobatic sporting biplane known as the Christen Eagle II. Last year, Schuck won some heat races and the Biplane Bronze First Place Trophy with a red and white biplane he called Warrior's Creed.
Events at the Reno National Air Races begin this weekend, with most races taking place next weekend.
The cause of the mishap is still under investigation, but some local pilots say the condition of the runways at the Vinton airport is either a factor, or perhaps the cause of the incident.
"This runway is not safe," said Shane Ohman, a crop duster who frequently flies out of Vinton, and was there when the incident happened. The runway's defects include a large bump where the two runways intersect. Pointing to another plane, Ohman said that plane's pilot recently hit a bump and ended up in the grass along the runway.
A pilot who agrees is John Stiegelmeyer, a former military and commercial pilot who now flies a plane he built.
"The intersection of 16-34 and 9-27 is one of the worst I have been exposed to," said Stiegelmeyer. "Taking off to the South on 16 hitting the intersection of 9-27 gets me airborne before I wish. I have to fly in ground effect to gain airspeed over stall before I can climb. Some other instructors at other airports do not want their students to land or take off on this runway. I also get a bounce taking off to the West on 27. During first 40 hours of tests on 717JR, I took one of the Commission members to illustrate the hazard. Low performance aircraft do not get the same effect. So nothing was done. Likely the Caravan of the sky divers doesn't have a problem here either."
Former Airport Commissioner Tom Boeckmann, however, said that he has not heard of any problems concerning that portion of the runway.
"It has not been a problem in the past but I'm no longer a commissioner so don't know if they have issues now," said Boeckmann.
However, he adds, the runway needs a lot of work, but there is no money for it. Hangars are grant-funded with the federal and state governments often paying 90 percent of the cost. The local match formula, however, is different for runways, leaving cities to absorb more of the expense.
Another pilot, Rick Hadley, said he has not used the runway for the past three years, but remembers "a bit of a bump there at the intersection."
Yet, said Hadley: "I never had a problem with it, particularly not on landing. Taking off to the south, I'd often start my run to the south of the intersection to avoid it, but that was because I was flying a very light tail-dragger and it was just transitioning the weight from the wheels to the wing right about there. As I say, I personally never found it to be a major problem, but again, I don't know if it's gotten worse in three years or not."
Hadley said his guess is that the pilot "probably lost control due to a gust of wind just as he crossed the intersection."
Wednesday's weather was mostly sunny but windy, with gusts higher than 20 mph.
"It's 18, gusting 23 out there at the moment and that's pretty strong even for an experienced pilot," Hadley said.
Schuck and his companions left the airport to look for a rental car to drive to Reno, leaving the damaged plane locked in a hangar.
See Schuck's racing page HERE.
- Source: http://www.vintoniowa.org
Landing gear, wings and propeller were damaged.
Schuck and his plane before the racing stripes and numbers were added.
Brett Schuck flies the biplane he calls 'Fowl Play' earlier this year.