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N93606 accident description

West Virginia map... West Virginia list
Crash location 39.344722°N, 81.439166°W
Nearest city Parkersburg, WV
39.266742°N, 81.561514°W
8.5 miles away
Tail number N93606
Accident date 04 Oct 2012
Aircraft type Ercoupe 415-C
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report


On October 4, 2012, about 1255 eastern daylight time, an Ercoupe 415-C, N93606, was substantially damaged during landing, at Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport (PKB), Parkersburg, West Virginia. The student pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the solo cross country instructional flight conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, which departed Fairmont Municipal Airport (4G7), Fairmont, West Virginia.

According to the student pilot, the first leg of his solo cross country flight was uneventful until he attempted to land on runway 21 at PKB. During the flare, as the airplane began to settle, he reduced power and the airplane "dropped". It touched down on the main landing gear, then the nose landing gear and then "hopped". The airplane then "came back down", touched down again, rolled about 50 feet and the nose wheel separated from the nose landing gear. The airplane then slid to a stop, on the nose landing gear wheel fork.


According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the student pilot was issued a student pilot certificate with third-class medical on February 14, 2012.

On April 30, 2012 the pilot received an endorsement to solo the Ercoupe 415-C, and on July 2, 2012, received an endorsement to make solo cross country flights.


According to FAA and airplane maintenance records, the airplane was manufactured in 1946. The airplane’s most recent annual inspection was completed on March 14, 2012 and at the time of the inspection; the airplane had accrued 1,391 total hours of operation.


The reported weather at PKB at 1253, included: winds from 230 degrees at 5 knots, 10 miles visibility, few clouds at 10,000 feet, temperature 23 degrees C, dew point 13 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.20 inches of mercury.


According to the Airport Facility Directory, PKB was controlled and had two runways oriented in a 03/21 and 10/28 configuration. Runway 21 was asphalt, grooved, and in good condition. It was 7,240 feet long and 150 feet wide. The threshold was displaced by 460 feet. The runway gradient was 0.7 percent and the runway was marked with precision markings.


Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed that both halves of the two piece nose wheel assembly had separated from each other and multiple fractures existed in both halves. Further examination of the airplane also revealed that the firewall and fuselage had incurred substantial damage.


The pilot did not report any mechanical problems prior to the landing but, he advised that due to the age of the airplane, the nose wheel assembly may have failed due to fatigue.

Examination of the nose wheel assembly by the NTSB's Materials Laboratory revealed however, that the damage was consistent with a hard landing, as two of the three mounting holes in the outer rim were cracked, the fracture faces on the wheel rims revealed rough grainy surfaces, and the bearing inner race surface was dimpled, displayed mechanical damage, and deformation of the bearing cage, seal, and retainer.

The locknuts were also ineffective and relatively old, and could be removed from the wheel bolts without the aid of tools. Only slight resistance could be felt as the bolt entered the locking portion of the locknut. The exterior surface of the locknuts was also corroded, and the locking portion of the locknuts displayed a full form thread similar to the metal threads.

NTSB Probable Cause

The student pilot’s improper landing flare, which resulted in a hard landing.

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