NTSB Identification: ATL96FA043.
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Scheduled 14 CFR VALUJET INC.
Accident occurred Thursday, February 01, 1996 in NASHVILLE, TN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/02/1997
Aircraft: DOUGLAS DC-9-32, registration: N903VJ
Injuries: 80 Uninjured.

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.

During landing, the right main landing gear shock strut cylinder and piston failed which caused the axle, wheels, and tires to separate. Metallurgical examination showed that the fracture surfaces had been damaged after separation. Two areas on the cylinder fracture face were not at an angle to suggest overstress separation, and ratchet marks were present which usually separate initiation sights on offset fracture planes. The piston fracture surfaces had features typical of overstress separation. The right main landing torque links had failed during landing 312 flight hours before this accident. The torque links, shimmy damper, and piston were replaced at that time; the cylinder was not replaced.

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

the failure of the right main landing gear shock strut cylinder due to preexisting fractures. Contributing to the accident was: the failure of the operator to inspect the shock strut cylinder for fractures following a previous failure of the torque links, and the absence of specific directives and procedures from the aircraft manufacturer to inspect or replace the shock strut cylinder following torque link failure.

Full narrative available

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