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G73T, vicinity Miami Seaplane Base FL USA, 2005

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Summary
On 19 December 2005, a Grumman Turbo Mallard Sea Plane suffered a loss of control following the in-flight separation of the right hand wing, Miami Port, Florida, USA.
Event Details
When December 2005
Actual or Potential
Event Type
Airworthiness, Loss of Control
Day/Night Day
Flight Conditions VMC
Flight Details
Aircraft GRUMMAN G73T Turbo Mallard
Operator Flying Boat, Inc.
Domicile United States
Type of Flight Public Transport (Passenger)
Take off Commenced Yes
Flight Airborne Yes
Flight Completed No
Flight Phase Climb
ICL / ENR
Location
Approx. Port of Miami
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General
Tag(s) Inadequate Airworthiness Procedures,
Inadequate Aircraft Operator Procedures
LOC
Tag(s) Airframe Structural Failure
AW
System(s) Airframe
Contributor(s) Maintenance Error (valid guidance available)
Outcome
Damage or injury Yes
Aircraft damage Hull loss
Fatalities Most or all occupants (20)
Causal Factor Group(s)
Group(s) Aircraft Technical
Safety Recommendation(s)
Group(s) Aircraft Airworthiness
Investigation Type
Type Independent

Description

On 19 December 2005, a Grumman Turbo Mallard Sea Plane suffered a loss of control following the in-flight separation of the right hand wing, Miami Port, Florida, USA.

Synopsis

This dramatic and fatal example of structural fatigue involved a 58 year old Grumman G73T Turbo Mallard Seaplane, which shed the complete right hand wing when the main spar failed. The investigation found that the right wing separated from the airplane because of multiple pre-existing fatigue fractures and cracks, which reduced the residual strength of the wing structure.

The following is the Executive Summary from the official NTSB report (AAR-07/04):

"On December 19, 2005, about 1439 eastern standard time, a Grumman Turbo Mallard (G-73T) amphibious airplane, N2969, operated by Flying Boat, Inc., doing business as Chalk’s Ocean Airways flight 101, crashed into a shipping channel adjacent to the Port of Miami, Florida, shortly after takeoff from the Miami Seaplane Base. Flight 101 was a regularly scheduled passenger flight to Bimini, Bahamas, with 2 flight crew members and 18 passengers on board. The airplane’s right wing separated during flight. All 20 people aboard the airplane were killed, and the airplane was destroyed by impact forces. Flight 101 was operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121 on a visual flight rules flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the in-flight failure and separation of the right wing during normal flight, which resulted from (1) the failure of the Chalk’s Ocean Airways maintenance program to identify and properly repair fatigue cracks in the right wing and (2) the failure of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to detect and correct deficiencies in the company’s maintenance program.

The safety issues discussed in this report focus on air carrier maintenance programs and practices and FAA oversight procedures for air carrier maintenance programs. Safety recommendations concerning these issues are addressed to the FAA."

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Further Reading

For further information, see the official NTSB Aircraft Accident Report: AAR-07/04