NTSB Identification: SEA96FA010.
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Accident occurred Monday, October 23, 1995 in ALTA, WY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/25/1996
Aircraft: Maule M-5-235C, registration: N71AR
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The aircraft was observed entering a level, counter-clockwise turn approximately 200-300 feet above ground. Witnesses reported observing the right wing separate from the aircraft after approximately three-quarters of the turn, and the aircraft was then observed to descend rapidly to the ground and burn upon impact. Examination of the airframe records indicated that the aircraft's original struts were still installed with a total of 4,945 hours of service and no indication of any significant maintenance. On site examination revealed that the right wing forward lift strut had separated completely at a point approximately eight inches above its inboard end (right main landing gear attach point). Metallurgical examination revealed that the lower inside of the strut at the separation surface was corroded and that fatigue cracking progressed from the corroded area through a portion of the top surface of the strut.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

the corrosion, consequent fatigue cracking and ultimate separation of the right wing forward lift strut.

Full narrative available

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