Saturday, June 23, 2018

Liberty XL-2, N568XL: Accident occurred February 20, 2016 at Orlando International Airport (KMCO), Orange County, Florida

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Orlando, Florida
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Cleveland, Ohio
Parker Aerospace; Irvine, California

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

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

http://registry.faa.gov/N568XL 

Location: Orlando, FL
Accident Number: ERA16LA113
Date & Time: 02/20/2016, 1900 EST
Registration: N568XL
Aircraft: LIBERTY AEROSPACE INCORPORATED LIBERTY XL
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Miscellaneous/other
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On February 20, 2016, about 1900 eastern standard time, a privately owned and operated Liberty Aerospace, Inc., XL-2, N568XL, experienced a runway excursion during takeoff and subsequent collapse of all landing gear at the Orlando International Airport (MCO), Orlando, Florida. The commercial pilot and one passenger were not injured, and the airplane which was being operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 as a personal flight, was substantially damaged. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the flight that was originating at the time of the occurrence, and was destined for Spruce Creek Airport, Daytona Beach, Florida.

The commercial pilot/owner stated that he landed the tricycle gear airplane at MCO uneventfully, taxied to a fixed base operator, and secured the airplane; no discrepancies were reported with the airplane's toe brakes which are used for braking and steering. He met his wife who had flown from Germany at the commercial terminal, and both proceeded back to the airplane where he checked the oil quantity and fuel system for contaminants since 5.0 gallons of fuel were added. He started the engine and did a brake system check after rolling forward, reporting no discrepancies. He was given taxi clearance and taxied to the approach end of runway 18R, where he was informed to cross the runway and expect departure from runway 18L. He reported that all turns were made to the right. After crossing runway 18R he noted a "softness" in the brakes but stopped the airplane. He and his wife (non-pilot but familiar with the airplane) did a brake test by allowing the airplane to move forward slightly with low engine rpm and applied the brakes which stopped the airplane; no discrepancies were reported.

With traffic on a four-mile final, the pilot was cleared to takeoff by air traffic control and perceived the need for an immediate departure. He added power and rolled onto the runway at an angle beginning a rolling takeoff. Upon entering the runway with a slight crosswind from the right, the right brake failed and the airplane veered to the left. Concerned that further asymmetric brake application could cause a roll over, or releasing of the brakes would result in a collision with runway signage, he stopped braking and added full power in an attempt to regain directional control and cleared the runway lights and signs. He then aborted the takeoff and landed in grass, where the airplane contacted a ridge or berm causing collapse of all landing gears. He also stated that flying at a commercial airport caused pressure to expedite his departure, and he was in a hurry to get his wife home. Compounding his decision to continue the flight were the lack of suitable maintenance on the airport on Saturday night.

Prior to NTSB classification as an accident, the airplane was inspected by personnel from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and no leakage was noted at either brake. The inspector also noticed deterioration and corrosion on the linings, and discoloration of the disk of the right brake, that was not present on the left. The airplane was then transported from MCO to another location where it was secured. An individual involved in recovery of the airplane from MCO disconnected the brake line from the right brake caliper, because the line was the only thing holding the landing gear to the airframe. The individual reported that the B-nut was tight, and after removing the brake line from the caliper, fluid came from the unattached line requiring him to place absorbent pads to catch the fluid leakage. No determination was made as to the fluid level in the brake reservoir, or the functionality of the right brake either by FAA or recovery personnel before the line was removed from the right brake caliper.

Following recovery of the airplane to the secure location, inspection of the brake system by a FAA inspector revealed minimal fluid in the brake reservoir, and no fluid in the plastic tubing from it. The left brake caliper was attached to the landing gear and after loosening the brake line at the brake caliper, fluid was noted coming from the fitting. Both brake calipers were removed and retained. Inspection of the left brake caliper revealed it was free to move in the sliding pins, while the right brake caliper exhibited "excessive" sliding motion in the sliding pins when compared with the left brake caliper.

Examination and operational testing of the left and right brake calipers was performed at the manufacturer's facility with FAA oversight. The manufacturer representative noted both brakes were received partially disassembled with backplates removed, tie bolts loose, and anchor bolt nuts removed. Neither brake exhibited evidence of overheating. The examination and testing of the left brake caliper revealed the linings were in good condition, with normal rotor surface conditioning noted, while the linings for the right brake exhibited corrosion or rust, a small crack in the lining from an outermost rivet hole to the edge of the lining, and evidence of edge crumbling around the perimeter of the lining. Both brakes were reassembled and installed on a bench for testing which revealed the left brake met the testing requirements, while the right brake exhibited leakage past the piston at 30 psi, which stopped after 1 minute resulting in 9.4 mL of leakage. Further testing to 600 psi (standard) did not result in any leakage and the pressure plates seated properly against the rotor. Following testing, both brake calipers were disassembled which revealed the o-ring for the left brake appeared intact and was generally in a round condition, while the o-ring for the right brake showed a recessed area, one linear indentation, a scuff on the outer edge, and was in a square shape. The o-ring of the right brake caliper was replaced and the caliper was subjected to additional testing which revealed no leakage. During the subsequent testing, the pressure plate was noted to be canted, but still allowed the plates to seat against the rotor. A dimension check of the components of the right brake revealed all dimensions met drawing requirements. The measured lining dimensions for both brakes were greater than the minimum specified by the airframe manufacturer.

Review of the maintenance records revealed the airplane's last annual inspection was signed off as being completed on February 1, 2016, at aircraft total time of 1,141.0 hours. According to the logbook entry related to the inspection, the brakes were bled and serviced with MIL-5606 hydraulic fluid. The mechanic who performed the inspection indicated that, "…at no time did I disconnect brake lines. I did bleed the brakes using the bleed ports on the bottom of the calipers. It is unnecessary to disconnect the flexible lines to the brakes to remove the calipers for maintenance…." The airplane had accrued about 21 hours since the inspection was performed.

The airplane owner reported the annual inspection occurred while the airplane was in his hangar and he was present the entire time. With respect to the brakes, they were inspected, bled of air, and tested by him at both seat positions with no discrepancies. Since the annual inspection was completed, excluding the accident flight, there have been no issues with the brakes.

The owner did report 2 previous discrepancies in 2013 related to the right brake. Both events were attributed to be from incorrect installation of an o-ring on the piston at the right brake caliper.

According to the Chapter 32 of the maintenance manual, the troubleshooting guide specifies that the failure of the brake calipers to hold could be caused by either: a) a liner worn below limits or damaged liner, b) liner(s) not conditioned, c) disc worn below limits, d) leaking hydraulic fitting, or e) air in brake system.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 57, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land; Single-engine Sea
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Multi-engine; Airplane Single-engine; Instrument Airplane
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 08/17/2015
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 10/30/2015
Flight Time:  1976 hours (Total, all aircraft), 980 hours (Total, this make and model), 1912 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 66 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 31 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 4 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: LIBERTY AEROSPACE INCORPORATED
Registration: N568XL
Model/Series: LIBERTY XL 2
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 0053
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 01/23/2016, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1658 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 21 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 1141 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: CONT MOTOR
ELT: C126 installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: IOF-240-B
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 125 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Night/Bright
Observation Facility, Elevation: KMCO, 96 ft msl
Observation Time: 1853 EST
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 360°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 5500 ft agl
Temperature/Dew Point: 19°C / 12°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 7 knots, Variable
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.24 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Orlando, FL (MCO)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Daytona Beach, FL (7FL6)
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time: 1900 EST
Type of Airspace: Class B

Airport Information


Airport: Orlando International Airport (MCO)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt; Concrete
Airport Elevation: 96 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 18L
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 12005 ft / 200 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:1 None 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude:  28.443611, -81.282500 (est)

NTSB Identification: ERA16LA113 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, February 20, 2016 in Orlando, FL
Aircraft: LIBERTY AEROSPACE INCORPORATED LIBERTY XL, registration: N568XL
Injuries: 2 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 February 20, 2016, about 1900 eastern standard time, a Liberty Aerospace, Inc., XL-2, N568XL, experienced a runway excursion during takeoff and subsequent collapse of all landing gear at the Orlando International Airport (MCO), Orlando, Florida. The commercial pilot and one passenger were not injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed. The flight was originating at the time of the occurrence, and was destined for Spruce Creek Airport, Daytona Beach, Florida.

The pilot stated that he had previously landed at MCO uneventfully, taxied to a fixed base operator, and secured the airplane; no discrepancies with the brakes were reported. He met his wife at the commercial terminal, and they then proceeded back to the airplane where he checked the oil quantity and fuel system for contaminants since 5.0 gallons of fuel were added. He started the engine and did a brake system check after rolling forward, reporting no discrepancies were noted. He was given taxi clearance and taxied to the approach end of runway 18R, where he was informed to cross the runway and expect departure from runway 18L. After crossing runway 18R he noted a "softness" in the brakes but stopped the airplane. He and his wife (non-pilot but familiar with the airplane) did a brake test by allowing the airplane to move forward slightly with low engine rpm and applying the brakes which stopped the airplane; no discrepancies were reported. He was cleared to takeoff by air traffic control and perceived the need for an immediate departure. He added power and rolled onto the runway at an angle beginning a rolling takeoff. Upon entering the runway with a slight crosswind from the right, the right brake failed and the airplane veered to the left; further application of the brakes increased the severity of the braking. With runway lights ahead, he stopped braking and added full power in an attempt to regain directional control with the increased speed and cleared runway lights and signs. He then aborted the takeoff and landed in grass, where the airplane contacted a ridge or berm causing collapse of all landing gears.

1 comment:

Jim B said...


I have to admit I am not a fan of fully castering nose-wheel assemblies.

I have pushed these in and out of hangars with frustrating results. I have no experience flying one.

But it seems having to rely on brakes to maintain runway alignment would be unbalanced and difficult to control in some crosswind circumstances.