NTSB Identification: SEA01FA021.
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Accident occurred Friday, November 17, 2000 in ONTARIO, OR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/17/2001
Aircraft: Piper PA-22-135, registration: N3762A
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.

During the climb-out from takeoff at about 200 feet above ground level, the left wing just outboard of the lift strut wing attach points folded upward. The aircraft then went into a vertical descent with the wing section trailing and still attached by what one witness thought were the control cables. The aircraft continued the vertical descent to ground collision. During the descent the forward left wing lift strut separated. Sections of the left side forward and aft lift strut attach fittings and fork assemblies were examined by an NTSB metallurgist. The metallurgist reported that all fracture features and deformation were typical of overstress fractures under bending load. Historical maintenance documentation revealed that the pilot, a non-mechanic, had been doing extensive structural maintenance on the aircraft since the late 1970's, and then having a certified mechanic sign-off his work.

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

Overstress loading to the left wing lift strut resulting in the left wing folding upward during the initial climb.

Full narrative available

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