Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Loss of Control on Ground: Piper PA-22-135, N8103C; accident occurred July 10, 2020 at Culpeper Regional Airport (KCJR), Virginia

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Dulles, Virginia

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Culpeper, Virginia 
Accident Number: ERA20CA248
Date & Time: July 10, 2020, 10:25 Local
Registration: N8103C
Aircraft: Piper PA22 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control on ground 
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Instructional


The private pilot/owner had recently purchased the tailwheel-equipped airplane, and while he had prior experience flying other tailwheel airplanes and had no prior experience in the accident airplane make and model. The purpose of accident flight was to gain experience while flying with a flight instructor.  The pilot was flying in the left seat, which was the only seat equipped with wheel brakes, and the flight instructor was flying in the right seat. After an uneventful flight in the airport traffic pattern, the pilot approached the runway and touched down on the main landing gear. Shortly after the tailwheel touched down the airplane began drifting to the left. The pilot’s rudder inputs were ineffective in correcting the drift and the flight instructor assumed control of the airplane. The flight instructor reported that as he applied right rudder, the pilot applied braking forces that neutralized the flight instructor’s rudder inputs. The pilot eventually let go of the brakes after the airplane departed the left side of the runway, and with full right rudder still being applied by the flight instructor, the airplane veered back onto the runway. The airplane subsequently ground looped and the left main landing gear collapsed. The left wing and the fuselage were substantially damaged. Neither pilot reported any mechanical malfunctions or failures of the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

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 on landing resulting in a runway excursion and subsequent ground loop. Contributing to the outcome were the flight instructor’s inadequate remedial actions.


Personnel issues Aircraft control - Pilot
Aircraft Directional control - Not attained/maintained
Personnel issues (general) - Instructor/check pilot

Factual Information

History of Flight

Landing-landing roll Loss of control on ground (Defining event)
Landing-landing roll Attempted remediation/recovery
Landing-landing roll Runway excursion

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private 
Age: 67, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land 
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Lap only
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 None
Last FAA Medical Exam: August 17, 2018
Occupational Pilot: No Last Flight Review or Equivalent: September 6, 2018
Flight Time: 510 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1 hours (Total, this make and model), 435 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Flight instructor Information

Certificate: Commercial 
Age: 47,Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land; Multi-engine land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): 
Restraint Used: Lap only
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane 
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): Instrument airplane
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With waivers/limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: Yes 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: May 1, 2019
Flight Time: (Estimated) 5200 hours (Total, all aircraft), 15 hours (Total, this make and model)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N8103C
Model/Series: PA22 135
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1954 
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 22-2249
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: November 30, 2019 Annual 
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1951 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 4285 Hrs at time of accident 
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C126 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-290 SERIES
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power: 135 Horsepower
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC) 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: CJR,315 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 10:15 Local 
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Visibility: 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 2100 ft AGL
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 6 knots / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 350° 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.88 inches Hg 
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C / 21°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Culpeper, VA (CJR) 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Culpeper, VA (CJR)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 10:20 Local 
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Culpeper Rgnl CJR
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 315 ft msl 
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 04 
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 5000 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Traffic pattern

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 38.525554,-77.859725(est)

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