Saturday, March 16, 2019

Loss of Control on Ground: Great Lakes 2T-1A-2 Sport Trainer, N3512L; accident occurred November 02, 2017 at Turners Falls Airport (0B5), Montague, Franklin County, Massachusetts

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Enfield, Connecticut

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Montague, MA
Accident Number: ERA18LA023
Date & Time: 11/02/2017, 1400 EDT
Registration: N3512L
Aircraft: GREAT LAKES 2T1A
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control on ground
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 


The private pilot was initiating takeoff for the positioning flight with no winds and with the airplane's tail off the runway when the airplane suddenly veered left, which he could not correct. The airplane exited the left side of the runway and then slid down a sharp incline into a ditch and nosed over.

Postaccident examination of the runway revealed skid marks made by the right main landing gear (MLG) tire that continued off the runway, and by the tailwheel tire, which began 50 ft past the beginning of the right MLG tire marks and also continued off the runway. The left MLG tire only made light tire marks, which indicates that the airplane was light on the left MLG tire during the takeoff.

No flat spots were noted on either MLG tire, and examination of both brakes and the flight controls revealed no evidence of a preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. During an operational test, the left brake operated normally. The right brake could not be operationally tested due to damage to its components Given the evidence, it is likely that the pilot lost directional control during the attempted takeoff.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to maintain directional control during the attempted takeoff, which resulted in a runway excursion.


Directional control - Not attained/maintained (Cause)

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)

Factual Information

On November 2, 2017, about 1400 eastern daylight time, a privately owned and operated Great Lakes Aircraft Company 2T-1A-2, N3512L, experienced a runway excursion during takeoff and nosed over at Turners Falls Airport (0B5), Montague, Massachusetts. The private pilot was not injured and the airplane, which was being operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, as a personal flight, was substantially damaged. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed. The flight was originating at the time of the accident and was destined for the Orange Municipal Airport (ORE), Orange, Massachusetts.

The pilot stated that he flew to 0B5 the day before the accident and assisted the mechanic with removing panels and bleeding the airplane's brakes as part of an annual inspection. He also reported that the left brake pads were replaced. He returned home that evening, then arrived at 0B5 the afternoon of the accident. After arrival he performed a preflight inspection, which included a visual inspection of the brakes, and rudder cables. He started the engine and began taxiing to the approach end of runway 16, reporting no discrepancies with the brakes while taxiing or during the run-up. He taxied onto the runway and with no wind, began the takeoff roll reporting all was normal for the first 200 ft. With the empennage off the runway, the airplane suddenly veered to the left, which he could not correct. The airplane went off the left side of the runway, down a sharp incline, then nosed over. He immediately released the restraint and exited the airplane.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration inspector who examined the runway and airplane the same day, the airplane departed the left side of the runway about 425 from the approach end, and came to rest inverted in grass off the east side of the runway. Inspection of the runway revealed dark marks made by the right tire on runway centerline beginning about 350 feet from the approach edge of the runway. The marks were continuous off the east edge of the runway onto grass. Marks from the left tire were too light to capture in a photograph, while "squiggly" marks associated with the tailwheel tire began about 50 feet past the beginning of the right tire marks and continued off the east edge of the runway onto grass.

The inspector reported no flat spots of either main landing gear tire. Visual inspection of the brakes while the airplane was inverted revealed both wheels rotated with no resistance. Both brakes were attached and appeared to be serviceable. The brake lines were also intact with no evidence of fluid loss. The airplane was then uprighted, which further damaged the right main landing gear, fractured the right brake line and right outer wheel half, and sheared a bolt of the brake caliper causing it to separate. Fluid was noted leaking from the right brake line when it fractured, leaving about a one-foot round stain on the pavement. Operational testing of the left brake revealed no evidence of failure or malfunction. The right brake could not be tested because of damage caused by recovery. Flight control continuity was confirmed for roll, pitch, and yaw with no evidence of binding or malfunction reported.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 78, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Rear
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: BasicMed Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 05/03/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 03/05/2016
Flight Time:  4220 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1575 hours (Total, this make and model), 4070 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 30 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 20 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: GREAT LAKES
Registration: N3512L
Model/Series: 2T1A 2
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1978
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Aerobatic
Serial Number: 0794
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 11/01/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1800 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 1520 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: AEIO-360-B1G6
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 180 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: ORE, 556 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 11 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1452 EDT
Direction from Accident Site: 98°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 12000 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 5 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 170°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.21 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 17°C / 14°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Montague, MA (0B5)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Orange, MA (ORE)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1400 EDT
Type of Airspace:

Airport Information

Airport: Turners Falls Airport (0B5)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 359 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Unknown
Runway Used: 16
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3200 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude:  42.594167, -72.524722 (est)

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