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Taxiing with the handbrake engaged

Has it ever happened to you?

This was my first time, pretty embarrassing, but I decided to share my experience anyway.

Put it on your checklist!


27 November 1970
Capitol Airways Flight 3/26, a DC-8-63CF (N4909C) crashed on takeoff from Anchorage International Airport after the landing gear wheels failed to rotate due to an unexplained brake problem (though a brake/hydraulic system malfunction or an engaged parking brake were suspected), killing 47 of 229 on board. The aircraft was operating a McChord AFB-Anchorage-Yokota-Can Ranh Bay service for the Military Airlift Command.1

The runway was partly icy so the initial acceleration was normal despite several wheels were locked and not rotating.

With GA, I guess it has happened to many Cessna pilots as the parking brake mechanism is fragile and often not very effective.

EKRK, Denmark

I recently read about a DR400 that taxied and tried to take off with the parking brake on. They aborted the takeoff because the airplane was not accelerating as expected, and tacked back to do another attempt. When they stopped the gear caught fire and the whole airplane burned after the occupants evacuated.


Wasn’t this (brakes setting things on fire) a big issue with the SR22? Or most types with fixed gear and tight wheel cowlings, if they fill up with grass.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I have only read about one case: the wheel pants of an SR22 burning after a two mile (or so) power-on taxi standing on the brakes… some years ago, somwhere in Texas.

It sounds like this can have serious outcomes if you don’t figure it out. I would not have tried a takeoff experiencing those problems, even if it wasn’t the handbrake. It wasn’t feeling right to begin with.


With GA, I guess it has happened to many Cessna pilots as the parking brake mechanism is fragile and often not very effective.

Yes, I once had parking brake failure on a C175 which partly locked one wheel and made ground ops rather difficult. The C1xx parking brake system is also found on some other types, but many off-airport pilots reckon that it adds too much weight to their airplanes.

Glenswinton, SW Scotland, United Kingdom

Someone sent me this a while ago this year – it’s a binding brake on a glider which caused a fire, bunged up spats on cut grass airfields can do the same as well I believe

Now retired from forums best wishes

It can be worse Dimme – from the BBC

“A pilot has been fined £1,000 after a concrete block fell from his plane and landed near children playing tennis.

The one-foot square slab landed in the car park of the Northumberland Lawn Tennis Club in Jesmond, Newcastle, during a flight on 9 May.

Alan Gibson of Harpenden, in Hertfordshire, admitted failing to carry out a pre-flight check correctly at Gosforth Magistrates’ Court.

He was also ordered to pay £715 costs. The block was used to anchor planes."

The block fell from a four-seater Piper Cherokee light aircraft which had just left Newcastle Airport.

The Civil Aviation Authority and Northumbria Police brought the case to court.

EHLE / Lelystad, Netherlands, Netherlands

Assuming that the concrete “slab” was, at best, a 1 ft cube, it weighed less than 65 kg.

I heard of an instance of a Scottish amphibian taxiing for take off in that configuration, but (unlike his Geordie counterpart) the geezer in the tower had evidently been to Specsavers and he tipped the Cessna driver the wink.

Which leads me to conclude that if one can taxi without noticing that a tie-down is attached, it ain’t big enough to do squat.

In the Newcastle case, the piece of string was the second weakest link (after the pilot’s grasp of the laws of physics), but it leads to another question:

Apart from the bow/reef knot for tying shoelaces, which are the two knots which every child should learn at primary school?

The ones I use most often are the bowline and round turn & two half hitches.

Last Edited by Jacko at 07 Oct 12:31
Glenswinton, SW Scotland, United Kingdom
22 Posts
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