The NTSB has issued a
preliminary report on the tragic accident that resulted in the
crash of a Chalks Ocean Airways' G-73 Turbine Mallard, N2969, and
all 20 passengers and crew aboard.
NTSB Identification: DCA06MA010
Scheduled 14 CFR Part 121: Air Carrier operation of FLYING BOAT INC
(D.B.A. Chalks Ocean Airways)
Accident occurred Monday, December 19, 2005 in Miami, FL
Aircraft: Grumman G-73T, registration: N2969
Injuries: 20 Fatal.
This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may
contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when
the final report has been completed.
On December 19, 2005, about 2:39 p.m. eastern standard time, a
Grumman G-73T Turbo Mallard seaplane, N2969, operated by Flying
Boats Inc. DBA Chalks Ocean Airways, as Flight 101, experienced an
in-flight breakup and crashed near Miami, Florida. The flight had
just departed from the Watson's Island seaplane base (X44) and was
en route to Bimini, Bahamas. Witnesses, photos and video, and
examination of the wreckage indicate that the right wing separated
in flight, and an ensuing fire, prior to the seaplane descending
into the water near a rock jetty. The 2 crewmembers and 18
passengers, including 3 infants, were fatally injured. The flight
was operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal
Regulations Part 121. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at
the time of the accident.
The seaplane was originally manufactured in 1947 as a Grumman
Mallard, equipped with Pratt and Whitney radial piston engines. In
1979 the seaplane was modified by Frakes Aviation, in accordance
with Supplemental Type Certificates SA2323WE and SA4410SW to
increase the seating capacity from 10 to 17 passengers, and to
replace the original engines with Pratt and Whitney PT-6 turboprop
powerplants. The seaplane entered into service with Chalks in
Initial wreckage examination indicated that the right wing
separated near the root. Preliminary metallurgical examination has
located evidence of fatigue cracking in the lower rear wing spar
cap, along the lower wing skin, and on an internal z-stringer.
Additional evidence of fatigue cracking has been noted in the
corresponding area on the left wing.
On December 30, 2005, the FAA issued Emergency Airworthiness
Directive 2006-01-51 requiring detailed inspections of the wings of
all G-73 seaplanes.
The airplane was equipped with a cockpit voice recorder, which
was recovered, however the recording was not usable.
The Safety Board team has recovered the wreckage to a salvage
facility, and pertinent sections of structure have been sent to the
NTSB materials lab in Washington for further examination.
Parties to the investigation include the FAA, Chalks Ocean
Airways, Pratt & Whitney Canada and Frakes Aviation.