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N8227L accident description

Kansas map... Kansas list
Crash location 38.830834°N, 94.890277°W
Nearest city New Century, KS
38.828800°N, 94.899200°W
0.5 miles away
Tail number N8227L
Accident date 24 Oct 2015
Aircraft type Piper PA-28-181
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On October 24, 2015, about 1100 central daylight time, a Piper PA-28-181, N8227L, sustained substantial damage to the right wing when its right brake and wheel pant caught on fire while taxiing for takeoff at the New Century AirCenter Airport (IXD), New Century, Kansas. The private pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. The airplane was owned by IAL Corp and operated by New Century Air Service under the provisions of the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and a visual flight rules flight plan was filed. The destination was Hays, Kansas.

The pilot reported that he accomplished a brake test prior to taxiing for takeoff and the brakes checked normal. He taxied from the ramp at New Century Air Service to takeoff from runway 36, which required taxiing via Taxiway A and B, a distance of about 1.85 miles. The airport diagram for IXD indicated that the elevation at the departure end runway 36 was 1,085 feet, and the elevation at the approach end of runway 36 was 1,051 feet, a loss of elevation of 34 feet. The runway gradient was approximately -0.5 percent.

The pilot reported that as he taxied south on Taxiway A and crossed over runway 4, he needed to add right rudder to maintain taxiway centerline. He thought it was odd to need right rudder when the wind was out of the northwest. He arrived at the run-up area at the approach end of runway 36. He stated that the brakes felt "mushy" as he turned the airplane into the wind and stopped. He stated the he "caught a whiff of something burning," and observed smoke coming from the right main landing gear area. The pilot informed air traffic control (ATC) about the smoke and requested to taxi back to the ramp. Seconds later, ATC informed that pilot that the there was a fire on the right side of the airplane. Then the pilot observed a "bit of flame" and exited the airplane. The pilot reported that emergency responders arrived about five minutes later and extinguished the fire.

The pilot reported that he had a private pilot's certificate with a single-engine land rating. He had about 150.7 hours of total flight time with about 15.3 hours in make and model. He held a third class medical certificate that was issued on December 5, 2013.

The airplane's maintenance logbooks indicated that the airplane's last annual maintenance inspection was conducted on October 22, 2015. The airplane had a total time of 18,460.2 hours at the time of the inspection. The engine logbook indicated that it had an estimated total time since new of 5,434.6 hours, and the time since overhaul was 1,265.7 hours. The airplane's flight log sheet indicated that the airplane was flown three times with a combined total time of 2.9 hours since the annual inspection was completed.

The mechanic who conducted the annual inspection reported that he removed the wheels and packed the bearing with grease during the inspection. He reported that the wheels spun fine with no problems noted. He taxied the airplane about 200 feet and conducted an engine run-up. He also taxied the airplane and did two 360 degree turns to the right and two 360 degree turns to the left. He reported that the brakes worked normally during ground checks.

The mechanic reported that he inspected the wheels after the accident occurred. He reported that right landing gear became really hot and had burned everything around it. The right wheel pant was consumed by fire. The flap and wing areas near the landing gear were also consumed by fire. The left landing gear exhibited signs of thermal damage but did not catch on fire. The O-ring around the piston had melted and hydraulic fluid was found leaking around the left brake caliper.

At 1053, the surface weather observation at IXD was: wind 340 degrees at 18 kts gusting to 25 kts; 10 miles visibility; overcast at 2,900 feet; temperature 13 degrees C; dew point 7 degrees C; altimeter 30.13 inches of mercury.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot’s application of excessive brake pressure to maintain a safe taxi speed during a long, slightly downhill taxi with a strong quartering tailwind, which resulted in a brake fire.

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