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Tue, Feb 27, 2024

Club's Tecnam P2010 Damaged by Ghosts?

"No Pilot Admitted To Any Significant Event During Landing"

Location: Chesterfield, Virginia    Accident Number: ERA24LA013
Date & Time: October 5, 2023, 08:00   Local Registration: N143TU Aircraft: COSTRUZIONI AERONAUTICHE TECNAM P2010
Aircraft Damage: Substantial   Defining Event: Hard landing 
Injuries: None   Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation

A recent report from the NTSB shows a surprising and spooky instance of mysterious damage to a Tecnam P2010, the Euro-accented, Italian Skyhawk.

"During a maintenance event, a mechanic was asked to evaluate damage to the airplane’s right wing. Further inspection of the right wing and its internal components revealed that the rear wing spar was cracked, and several wing skin rivets had sheared. The right wing strut and right main landing gear strut were also bent."

This came as a great surprise to the owners, who had little reason to expect so much damage to a popular, frequent flier. The NTSB said that "the flight club that operated the airplane reported that 22 pilots had flown the airplane in the recent past and no pilot admitted to any significant event during landing." This is perhaps the spookiest aspect of the report, laying the blame for the problems at the feet of the most obvious culprit of mysterious aircraft damage: Ghosts. "The substantial damage to the right wing was likely the result of a hard landing; however, due to the several flights flown with the damage, the investigation was not able to determine a specific flight during which the hard landing may have occurred."

The collective pilot base of the flight club - blameless, apparently, since nobody reported the incident - obviously discovered a clear-cut and terrifying case of a haunted aircraft. Additionally scary is the fact that the Tecnam P2010 may be prone to dangerous levels of spectral incursion, possibly an unforeseen result of its use of composites over tried-and-true, ghost-proof aluminum and steel. Haunted aircraft are a safety issue few in the industry are willing to broach today, despite how frequently ghosts, goblins, and ghouls cause damage to jointly owned and operated aircraft. The scourge of spooky specters throughout flight club aircraft remains - apparently - the most frequent cause of unexpected and unreported maintenance costs.

Those familiar with the hassles of running a flight club believe that the NTSB is actually reporting on a much more mundane and pedestrian phenomenon: Unreported incidents. Skeptics contend that "the Tecnam P2010 is NOT, in fact, more susceptible to being haunted by ghosts, and the landing gear was damaged by hamfisted flight club pilots landing hard without reporting the event to maintainers." Under the skeptic hypothesis, the incident aircraft was damaged by one particularly rough landing - ore even a series of poor landings - by club members who tried to hide and avoid the expensive fallout of being financially responsible for repairing bent and damaged landing gear and equipment. It's a compelling (but boring) narrative, but until the NTSB hands out grants to study the effects of haunted aircraft, the truth remains uncertain.

(In all seriousness, the incident is a striking reminder to always give a borrowed or rented aircraft a thorough pre-flight, and even take a few steps out to see it from afar. A bent aircraft is harder to notice close in, but obtuse angles and misaligned body parts are much easier to see at a distance. Nobody wants to be left holding the bag on someone else's aircraft - do a thorough preflight!) 

FMI: www.ntsb.gov

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