NTSB Investigator Finds Evidence Of Metal Fatigue
NTSB Investigator Alex
Lemishko says he's found evidence of a possible stress fracture in
the front wing spar of a T-34 that crashed in Texas last week. The
Beechcraft trainer was flown by Texas Air Aces' founder Don Wylie
when it lost a wing. The aircraft went down in a wooded area near
Lake Conroe. Witnesses say the T-34's right wing separated from the
aircraft while it was in a spin.
Wylie, 64, and William Eisenhauer, Jr., were killed. Eisenhauer
was a pilot for Airborne Express based in Ohio.
The Houston Chronicle reports Lemishko still has to review the
records of the leased T-34. But Texas Air Aces' Ed Johnson says the
company has complied with all ADs regarding the T-34.
AD 2001-13-18 was made effective after a 1999 Georgia crash
under circumstances very similar to those in Texas last Wednesday.
In both cases, the aircraft was being used to simulate dog fighting
with another aircraft.
The AD itself says:
NOTE: Neither the
T-34 nor the Baron Type Certificate specifies a fatigue safe life
for the wing. However, because of the nature of the T-34 wing
failure, it is necessary to determine a fatigue safe life of its
front spar. For used spars, this must include a determination
of the front spar fatigue damage accumulated while used on a
Texas Air Aces and its sister company, Aviation Safety Training
-- both founded by Wylie -- fly a fleet of six T-34 aircraft.
Johnson says all six have been inspected in accordance with the AD.
He says one aircraft is now undergoing spar replacement.
Lemishko tells the Chronicle the NTSB doesn't plan to ground any
T-34s at this time. If any action is taken, he indicated it would
come on the heels of the NTSB's preliminary report in January.
The FAA Preliminary Report
Make/Model: T34 Description:
Date: 11/19/2003 Time: 1616
Event Type: Accident Highest Injury:
Fatal Mid Air: N ing:
State: TX Country: US
AIRCRAFT CRASHED WHILE PERFORMING MANEUVERS, TWO PERSONS ON
FATALLY INJURED, AIRCRAFT WAS DESTROYED, CONROE, TX
INJURY DATA Total
# Crew: 1 Fat:
# Pass: 1 Fat:
Fat: 0 Ser:
WEATHER: CXO 1546 UTC WIND 360@10
VIS10 SKY CLR 19/02
Activity: Business Phase:
Maneuver Operation: General
Dep Date: 11/19/2003 Dep. Time: 1534
Flt Plan: UNK
Wx Briefing: U
Last Radio Cont: IAH 326/31
Last Clearance: FREQ CHANGE APPD
FAA FSDO: HOUSTON, TX
Entry date: 11/20/2003