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Thread: Piper Crash due to Strut Failure

  1. #1
    Harold Kroeker's Avatar
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    Default Piper Crash due to Strut Failure

    Safety Board issues advisory after fatal NW Ontario plane crash. The TSB found that tests for corrosion on an aircraft component may not be reliable.
    https://www.tbnewswatch.com/local-ne...photos-1639172

    The owner of a lodge 60 km from Kenora, and an employee, died after a plane crash on March 30, 2019. The Transportation Safety Board says corrosion led to overload failure and separation in the aircraft's main spar wing lift strut assembly. The owner of a lodge 60 km from Kenora, and an employee, died after a plane crash on March 30, 2019.The Transportation Safety Board says corrosion led to overload failure and separation in the aircraft's main spar wing lift strut assembly (TSB)

    OTTAWA, Ont. — The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has issued a safety advisory following its investigation of a fatal plane crash north of Kenora in March. The pilot of a ski-equipped single-engine aircraft died after it went out of control and struck the frozen surface of Snowshoe Lake, where he owned a hunting and fishing lodge. According to the TSB, the crash occurred while the pilot was making a low pass over the lake to advise lodge guests of his arrival. An employee who was a passenger in the plane died in hospital six days later from injuries suffered in the collision.

    Investigators inspected the airframe at the site and discovered a separation in the strut assembly caused by excessive corrosion. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration had issued a directive in 2015 requiring the inspection of potentially corroded strut assemblies on several different models of Piper aircraft. The TSB said it could find no record such an inspection was conducted on the plane that crashed at Snowshoe Lake. However, it discovered during its own lab tests that one of the methods prescribed by the FAA for checking for corrosion—a "punch test" followed by an inspection for any resulting dents—produces inconclusive results. The TSB is now recommending that Transport Canada review the testing procedures that are currently prescribed to ensure their reliability.
    Harold Kroeker
    PA-16 Clipper CF-PJB

  2. #2
    Frank Green's Avatar
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    Default Re: Piper Crash due to Strut Failure

    Stut looks really rusty. Don't think it's been oiled in a while. I still have the old struts but do a borescope inspection to visually inspect the inside of the struts. I always figured if the punch dented I was way behind the curve. I'm a big fan of my Vividia Ablescope and use it for a lot more than struts and cylinders like looking over the spars to see the leading edges or under the floor. Any place with a 1/2" hole I can see thru and record it for future reference.
    -Super Stub-

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    Gilbert Pierce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Piper Crash due to Strut Failure

    So there is no record of the inspection being done but the TSB determines the punch test to be unreliable.

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    Default Re: Piper Crash due to Strut Failure

    sealed struts w/ big forks, best $2,000 you’ll ever spend

  5. #5
    Administrator Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Piper Crash due to Strut Failure

    I just punch tested a set, PITA. When I replaced the forks there was so much preservative oil in them I couldn't see anything with the borescope.

    Thanks for posting that Harold, very interesting.

  6. #6
    Administrator Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Piper Crash due to Strut Failure

    Quote Originally Posted by Gilbert Pierce View Post
    So there is no record of the inspection being done but the TSB determines the punch test to be unreliable.
    Interesting read on how the concluded that.
    http://www.bst-tsb.gc.ca/eng/securit...026-D1-A1.html

  7. #7
    Frank Green's Avatar
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    Default Re: Piper Crash due to Strut Failure

    Quote Originally Posted by Bender View Post
    sealed struts w/ big forks, best $2,000 you’ll ever spend
    When I rebuilt my tri the cross tube in the fuselage between the struts had to be completely replaced. Many years of sitting outside took it's toll under the floor. New struts might give you a warm fuzzy feeling but do you know what they are hooked to? Problem with this incident is we don't know the history of where this plane has been or how it was maintained used or stored.
    -Super Stub-

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    grbamford's Avatar
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    Default Re: Piper Crash due to Strut Failure

    This is a pretty timely article and finding. Read it this morning and received a call from my mechanic about the upcoming annual and he specifically spoke about my struts, punch test and having the forks inspected. While it is a pretty significant number to hear, this story highlighted the issue for me. It's been in the back of my mind, but with each annual and passing, it has passed further to the recesses of my expenditure adverse thought process. Quick search of the site and the inner web seems to point to Univair or Airframes Alaska. Anyone have a general idea of the cost of shipping for them? They also offer a custom color powder coat option for them.... last thing I want to do is get the new struts and then have to send them out for painting...

    Greg

  9. #9

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    Default Re: Piper Crash due to Strut Failure

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Green View Post
    When I rebuilt my tri the cross tube in the fuselage between the struts had to be completely replaced. Many years of sitting outside took it's toll under the floor. New struts might give you a warm fuzzy feeling but do you know what they are hooked to? Problem with this incident is we don't know the history of where this plane has been or how it was maintained used or stored.
    Being aware that there are multiple points of failure doesn’t sound like a valid reason for inaction w/ regards to strut/fork replacement. If you were to apply that theory elsewhere, you could make an argument against ALL preventive maintenance, reasoning that there is no use fixing one questionable item when something else will likely kill you. For me, if my ass is hanging off the side of a mountain, I want the best rope and rigging available. Flying around with original struts and small forks seems like hanging off the side of a mountain with a rotten old rope. FWIW, my fuselage was blasted and powder-coated in 2014, but even if the fuse was original, I would still buy new struts. Just my 2 cents

  10. #10

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    Default Re: Piper Crash due to Strut Failure

    Quote Originally Posted by grbamford View Post
    This is a pretty timely article and finding. Read it this morning and received a call from my mechanic about the upcoming annual and he specifically spoke about my struts, punch test and having the forks inspected. While it is a pretty significant number to hear, this story highlighted the issue for me. It's been in the back of my mind, but with each annual and passing, it has passed further to the recesses of my expenditure adverse thought process. Quick search of the site and the inner web seems to point to Univair or Airframes Alaska. Anyone have a general idea of the cost of shipping for them? They also offer a custom color powder coat option for them.... last thing I want to do is get the new struts and then have to send them out for painting...

    Greg
    As I recall, shipping from AK to Oregon was surprisingly inexpensive at the time (5 years ago). I would just call Airframes and ask them. They have some of the best customer service in the business.

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