The Walls, the Kindreds and the Smiths (Beverly and Troy) were flying from Middletown to Myrtle Beach for a weekend. Before I left I noticed that the nosewheel hydraulic strut was almost flat. The maintenance personnel put more air in the strut. The nose wheel was a little stiff when I tried to make turns, but I did not think anything of it.
The last fifty miles of the trip, it was becoming dark, and the area was peppered with thunderstorms. I would not have flown into that area without radar. We played dodg'em with the rain showers and thunderstorms for about thirty minutes, until we turned on the final approach course for the North Myrtle Beach airport. Rob, Troy and I enjoyed the challenge. The wives, on the other hand, were very anxious to get on the ground.
Rob was flying the approach, and I encouraged him to stay on the instruments all the way to the Missed Approach Point (MAP). Trying to fly visually too soon can lead
to loss of airport contact and a missed approach. The airport came in and out of view several times during the approach. It remained in view only after we passed the MAP.
When we landed, the plane started to veer left off the runway. Rob was having trouble controlling it, so I took over during the rollout. I had to apply a lot of right brake just to keep us on the runway.
Three days later I had the same difficulty trying to control the plane while taxiing. It seemed a little bit worse, but we took off anyway. We made a bathroom stop at Mount Sterling, Kentucky. On the ground I tried to turn the nosewheel with a towbar. Instead, I bent the towbar! The nosewheel was frozen in position.
I made a very cautious landing at Middletown. The next day I had the maintenance personnel let some of the air out of the strut. I learned it was possible to overfill the nosewheel strut with air.
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