NTSB Issues Urgent Aviation Safety Recommendation

NTSB Issues Urgent Aviation Safety Recommendation

NTSB Issues Urgent Aviation Safety Recommendation

​​WASHINGTON (Oct. 27, 2022) — The National Transportation Safety Board today issued an urgent safety recommendation to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Transport Canada, acting upon the NTSB’s findings into the ongoing investigation of the Sept. 4, 2022, crash of a De Havilland Canada DHC-3 in Mutiny Bay, Washington.

The NTSB urgently recommends the FAA and Transport Canada require all operators of De Havilland Canada DHC-3 airplanes to conduct an immediate one-time inspection of the horizontal stabilizer actuator lock ring in accordance with the instructions in the Viking Air Limited service letter and report their findings to the FAA and Transport Canada, respectively.

“Immediate action needs to be taken to inspect the actuator of DHC-3 airplanes, of which 40% operate in the United States, to prevent a similar tragedy from happening,” said NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy. “NTSB is issuing this urgent recommendation as a result of a significant finding made by NTSB investigators.”

​​Viking Air Limited, the current certificate holder for the DHC-3 airplane, yesterday published a service letter recommending DHC-3 airplane operators “visually confirm that the stabilizer actuator lock ring is present, correctly seated in the groove in the upper housing…and the lock ring tang is engaged in the clamp nut.” Viking Air Limited stated that this action was to be performed upon receiving this service letter, “regardless of when the most recent maintenance was completed.”

During the examination of the airplane wreckage, the NTSB found that the clamp nut that attaches the top eye end and bearing assembly of the horizontal stabilizer actuator to the actuator barrel had unscrewed from the barrel. The examination also found that the circular wire lock ring, which was designed to prevent the clamp nut from unscrewing, was not present. If the actuator barrel and the clamp nut are not secured together and become separated, the actuator would not be able to control the position of the horizontal stabilizer, resulting in a reduction or loss of pitch control.

The Aviation Investigation Report​ ​is available online.​      ​​

To report an incident/accident or if you are a public safety agency, please call 1-844-373-9922 or 202-314-6290 to speak to a Watch Officer at the NTSB Response Operations Center (ROC) in Washington, DC (24/7).

Source:  https://www.ntsb.gov/news/press-releases/Pages/NR20221027.aspx

Piper Wing Spar Fatigue Cracks SAIB 2022-20

A new SAIB has come to our attention.

This Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin (SAIB) alerts all owners, operators, maintenance technicians, and inspectors of Piper Aircraft, Inc. (Piper) PA-28 and PA-32 airplanes of information gathered as a result of a fatal accident of a Piper Model PA-28R-201 airplane in 2018 and the inspection findings that followed.

The accident, determined to be caused by fatigue cracks in the lower spar cap, resulted in the  FAA issuing Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2020-26-16, which requires several actions including a one-time inspection of certain lower spar cap bolt holes. AD 2020-26-16 was issued as an interim action and requires reporting certain inspection information to the FAA to help determine the number of cracks present in the fleet. The inspection reports received by the FAA thus far indicate the presence of numerous cracks and hole-quality issues in a significant number of airplanes.

Click the link below to read the full Bulletin:

Click to access SAIB_2022-20.pdf

This is information only. Recommendations are not mandatory.

AOPA has this to say about it:

“The FAA issued AD 2020-26-16 in the wake of a 2018 in-flight wing separation on a Piper PA–28R-201. The accident, which killed the commercial pilot applicant and designated pilot examiner during a practical test, was found to be caused by fatigue cracks in the lower spar cap. The interim AD, among other actions, calls for a one-time inspection of certain lower spar cap bolt holes to help determine the number of cracks present in the fleet.

According to the SAIB, the FAA and Piper found that 115 of 2,880 aircraft reported having crack indications. Twenty-five percent of those indications were later confirmed to be hole damage or corrosion and not a crack.

The SAIB indicated that the inspection reports received by the FAA have indicated the “presence of numerous cracks and hole-quality issues in a significant number of airplanes.”

Concerned with the possibility of additional in-flight wing separations, the FAA is working toward finding a final AD action to address this safety issue. Currently, the actions specified in the SAIB are not mandatory; however, the FAA is seeking voluntary feedback from the pilot community regarding the availability of eddy current inspectors, the Factored Service Hours approach, and any field reports of cracks or damage not already reported, to help determine further action.

“Analysis of the AD inspection data along with additional analysis by various contributors, including Piper and the U.S. Air Force, is guiding the FAA to develop further corrective action. These analyses are indicating a possible need for frequent inspections, and inspections of additional airplanes beyond those initially inspected per AD 2020-26-16, to ensure proactive detection of fatigue cracks.”

AOPA will continue to work closely with the FAA on this significant AD and to collect and disseminate as much information as possible to ensure the AD supports the continued operational safety of the impacted aircraft in the most tailored way. To help AOPA in this effort, owners of airplanes subject to, or potentially subject to, eddy current inspection of wing spars as outlined in an airworthiness directive for Piper PA–28 and PA–32 aircraft are asked to help AOPA understand inspection costs and availability by completing this survey.”


Are you a Zook Subscriber?  If you are and would like to read AD 2020-26-16:

1) First, LOGIN here:  https://www.airworthinessdirectives.com/Account/Login

2) then run a search for AD 2020-26-16


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