Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Aeronca 11AC, N3154E: Accident occurred July 20, 2017 at Whiteplains Airport (SC99), Gilbert, Lexington County, South Carolina

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Columbia, South Carolina

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf


NTSB Identification: ERA17LA262
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, July 20, 2017 in Gilbert, SC
Aircraft: AERONCA 11BC, registration: N3154E
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On July 20, 2017, about 1945 eastern daylight time, a Aeronca 11BC Conversion, N3154E, was substantially damaged during landing at Whiteplains Airport (SC99), Gilbert, South Carolina. The private pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight, which departed SC99 about 1930, and was operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the pilot, he completed a normal right traffic pattern approach and landing to runway 9. After touchdown, the airplane lurched hard to the left and went off the left side of the runway into the grass covered area adjacent to the runway and then struck the windsock pole. The airplane then ground-looped to the left and the right main landing gear collapsed. The airplane then came to rest, and the pilot egressed.

Postaccident examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed that it was substantially damaged. The left wing attach point panel screws were loose, and the left wing was impact damaged, with visible crushing extending aft past the wing strut attach point on the forward spar. The right main landing gear had separated from its mounting location, and the right wingtip was damaged. The propeller tips were damaged, and the fuselage beneath the cockpit aft of the firewall was damaged. External examination of the left main landing gear and the left and right brake assemblies revealed no abnormalities.

On August 22, 2017, the brake system was examined by the NTSB. Examination of the system revealed that the airplane was equipped with heel brake pedals at the left cockpit seat. No brake pedals were installed at the right seat location. The left brake pedal was connected to the left wheel brake drum by a cable. Left cable continuity was confirmed and the cable remained taunt. When the heel pedal was actuated manually, it moved forward and aft; normal spring tension was noted. The left wheel and tire were spun manually; the left heel brake was pressed and the wheel stopped immediately. When the heel brake pressure was released, the wheel became free and spun without restriction or binding. No evidence of a locked brake condition was observed.

The right brake pedal cable was separated at the right brake drum due to impact forces (separation of the right main landing gear). The remaining hardware was in place and operated in a normal manner.

The left and right brake drums were disassembled. The linings of both brake drums were smooth and no anomalies were noted. All brake shoes were in good condition with minimal wear. All brake shoe springs were in place and tight. All wheel bearings were undamaged with minimal wear.

Both main landing gear tires were in an undamaged condition and tread wear was minimal. No flat or scuffed spots were noted on either main landing gear tire.

The reported weather at Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE), Columbia, South Carolina, located 12 nautical miles east of the accident site, at 1956, included: winds 200° at 4 knots, 10 miles visibility, scattered clouds at 6,000 ft, scattered clouds at 15,000 ft, temperature 30° C, dew point 22° C, and an altimeter setting of 29.98 inches of mercury.

SC99 was a privately-owned fly-in residential community, located five miles west of the central business district of Lexington, South Carolina. It was classified by the FAA as an uncontrolled private use airport. The field elevation was 520 ft above mean sea level and it had one runway oriented in a 09/27 configuration. Runway 9 was asphalt. The total length was 3,000 ft long and 35 ft wide. It was marked with basic markings. The threshold was displaced by 200 ft on the approach end, and obstructions were present off the approach end of the runway in the form of 70-foot-tall trees located 230 ft from the runway threshold. Examination of the runway by the FAA revealed that the windsock was located approximately 25 ft north of the left edge of the paved runway. Skid marks were present which lead from the centerline of the runway, to the windsock location.

According to FAA airman records, and pilot records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued on February 19, 2016. He reported that he had accrued 521 total hours of flight experience, 7 of which were in the accident airplane make and model.

According to FAA airworthiness records and airplane maintenance records, the airplane was manufactured in 1946. Its most recent annual inspection was completed on June 24, 2017. At the time of the accident, the airplane had accrued about 3,226 total hours of operation.

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