General Aviation News has recently mentioned an October 2008 accident report by the USA’s National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) about an incident involving a Super Sky Raider in Tuscola, Illinois. According to the NTSB report, the pilot flying the aircraft had not flown between 1981 and August 2008 and prior to the accident, he had logged only one hour in the tailwheel-equipped airplane with an instructor pilot. Moreover, the accident flight was the pilot’s first solo flight in a Super Sky Raider.
It was then noted that:
The pilot reported that as he was attempting to takeoff from the unpaved runway the aircraft began to veer to the right. He applied hard left rudder pedal, but the airplane continued to the right and went off the runway and into a cornfield. The airplane was equipped with heel brakes on the bottom of the rudder pedals. The inspection of the airplane revealed that the rudder and the right brake were operating normally.
The pilot’s failure to maintain directional control during takeoff was ruled as the probable cause for accident but a contributing factor (besides the cornfield) was the pilot’s lack of recent flying experience.
Hence and if you have not flown in awhile but you are contemplating getting back into the cockpit, you should out the latest issue of the FAA Safety Briefing which includes an article on “Getting Back in the Game.” In the article, Tom Hoffmann provides some important pointers on what to consider when getting started again. In addition, a reader of the Ask a Flight Instructor website recently posted a question on the site about “getting back in the game” with one answerer pointing out that he needs to get a fresh medical, get a current flight review and get recent flight experience – good advice to avoid ending up in a cornfield.