The Soaring Safety Foundation (SSF) is the Training and Safety arm of the Soaring Society of America (SSA). Our mission is to provide instructors and pilots with the tools needed to teach/learn both the stick & rudder skills and the Aeronautical Decision Making skills needed to safely fly a glider. We also provide information and analysis of incident and accident trends in order to develop better training tools.


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The Soaring Incident Database is now available to help pilots, safety officers, clubs, and commercial operators develop new programs that can help prevent incidents from becoming major accidents. See more incidents by searching the database or register a new incident.

Region Pilot Certificate Pilot Injuries Passenger Injuries Type of Flight Launch Method Type of Aircraft
East Private None None Local Aero Tow Pawnee
Incident Activity Damage to Aircraft Damage to Canopy Incident Date Incident Time Weather SSA Member
Flight Minor 2015-04-12 1400-1600 Clear Yes
Incident Description Towing with our club Pawnee, on landing on the hard surface runway (our grass landing surfaces were to wet to safely land) the tail wheel stated oscillating. The oscillating stopped at taxi speed. Discussion about this with the Chief Tow Pilot and Club President suggested that the spring that the tail wheel is attached to was not correct. It was agreed that towing operations should continue (it should be noted at this point that we did not have a second tow plane that was capable of towing in the conditions that day). On the 21 landing of the day the oscillating became worse on touch down and on roll out the tail wheel blew out. This cause oscillations even at taxi speed. On inspection the oscillation of the tail wheel on the hard surface runway wore through the casing causing the tube to fail. Towing operations were terminated for the day.
Other Comments Towing operations should have been terminated when the oscillations could not be stopped by forward stick pressure to keep as much weight as possible off the tail wheel during roll out. I think we continued to tow because our second tow plane was not capable of handling the conditions that day and our instructors were doing Spring check pilot check outs.

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