Bellanca Scout C-GSSD - Epilogue

Report / July 25, 2011 / Project number: Bellanca Scout C-GSSD - B Cat

Location: Gimli, Manitoba
Status: Investigation Complete
Date: 2011-07-25

The tow pilot was flying the Bellanca Scout supporting the Air Cadet Gliding Program (ACGP).  After landing from a glider tow the pilot realized that he was quickly approaching his pre-selected stopping point abeam the glider launch point.  He applied the brakes abruptly and aggressively which slowed the aircraft and forced the tail to rise.  He then released the brakes and ensured that the control stick was in the full aft position.  Moments later he felt a bump, possibly from uneven terrain, and re-applied the brakes, bringing the aircraft to a stop; however, the tail resumed its upward movement and the aircraft slowly nosed over and came to rest in an inverted position.  The pilot egressed the aircraft with minor injuries and was taken to the local medical facility.

In the absence of any technical malfunction with the Scout, the investigation focussed on ground handling, pilot technique, self-induced constraints, and staff arrival procedures and a review of the training documents.  The investigation found that over time, the pilot developed a tendency to relax back pressure on the control stick and apply the brakes in a more aggressive manner than what was required for the Scout.  These inappropriate techniques were possibly developed during the pilot’s flying experience on the heavier Pawnee tail dragger aircraft.  Despite a Currency and Annual Proficiency Check flight and an Area Check flight, the pilot’s inappropriate techniques were not identified and, therefore, were not corrected. 

The investigation concluded that in order to stop the aircraft prior to a pre-selected and self-imposed point and to avoid a perceived potential traffic conflict, the pilot applied the brakes abruptly and aggressively while not maintaining full back pressure on the control stick, causing the tail of the aircraft to rise and initiating the accident sequence.  Prior to the tail wheel settling back on the ground, the pilot inappropriately re-applied the brakes abruptly and aggressively, causing the aircraft to nose over.

Preventative measures taken consisted of additional ground school training and confirmation flights for the tow pilot prior to returning to flying duties.  A National Pilot Information File was published requiring all tow pilots of the ACGP to review the Flight Safety Investigation Report for the L-19 Nose Over in Comox on 19 June 2010 as well as the Enhanced Supplementary Report for this accident.  Recommended preventive measures included amendments to the local flying orders concerning airfield layout and a review of decision-making training provided to Air Cadet pilots. 

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