Sunday, July 07, 2019

Loss of Control on Ground: Thorp T-18 Tiger, N89ER, accident occurred February 16, 2018 at Vance Brand Airport (KLMO), Longmont, Colorado

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

Additional Participating Entity: 

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Denver, Colorado

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Longmont, CO
Accident Number: CEN18LA102
Date & Time: 02/16/2018, 1320 MST
Registration: N89ER
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control on ground
Injuries: 2 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional

On February 16, 2018, about 1320 mountain standard time, a Scheineman-Van Buren T-18 airplane, N89ER, was substantially damaged while landing at Vance Brand Airport (LMO), Longmont, Colorado. The pilot and flight instructor were seriously injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a training flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight, which departed without a flight plan about 1220.

The purpose of the flight was to orient the pilot to the airplane, which he had recently purchased. The pilot had flown about 200 hours in other tailwheel airplanes. After the pilot and flight instructor departed LMO, the pilot flew several local flight maneuvers, including slow flight, stalls, and steep turns. Returning to LMO, the pilot executed about uneventful seven landings. During the last landing, planned as a full stop, the airplane turned to the right as it decelerated below about 40 knots. The pilot attempted to correct the turn by applying left rudder control and with braking, but the airplane ground looped, departed the runway surface, and nosed over, damaging the left wing and vertical stabilizer. The pilot was unsure if he had applied any braking during the landing prior to having directional control issues. The flight instructor did not recall the last landing due to his injuries.

Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed no anomalies, except for a fractured rudder cable. No wear or chaffing marks were observed on the rudder cable, and no anomalies were noted with the installation. The rudder cable specifications matched the airplane build instructions. The National Transportation Safety Board Materials Laboratory examined the rudder cable with a 5x to 50x magnification stereo microscope and determined that fracture surfaces were consistent with an overstress separation. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 28, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  360 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1 hours (Total, this make and model)

Flight Instructor Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Flight Instructor
Age: 81, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Glider
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Multi-engine; Airplane Single-engine
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 01/16/2017
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 11/18/2016
Flight Time:  15000 hours (Total, all aircraft), 500 hours (Total, this make and model), 25 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 10 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Registration: N89ER
Model/Series: T 18 UNDESIGNATED
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1978
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 1106
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 07/03/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 1634 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-320-B3B
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 160 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: KLMO, 5056 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1315 MST
Direction from Accident Site: 315°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 3 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 80°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.99 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 5°C / -8°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Longmont, CO (LMO)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Longmont, CO (LMO)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1220 MST
Type of Airspace: Class E

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Concrete
Airport Elevation: 5055 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 29
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 4799 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Traffic Pattern

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 40.164444, -105.163611 (est)

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