NTSB Identification: CHI89DEC08.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 41826.
Accident occurred Monday, September 18, 1989 in SMITH CREEK, MI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/30/1992
Aircraft: WESLEY STRIPLIN RANGER, registration: N46WW
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

WITNESSES REPORTED SEEING SOMETHING HANGING FROM THE LEFT WING OF THE AIRPLANE ALONG WITH FUEL COMING FROM THE LEFT WING. SHORTLY THEREAFTER, THE AIRPLANE ENTERED A LEFT DIVING TURN AND IMPACTED THE TERRAIN IN A STEEP NOSE DOWN ATTITUDE. EXAMINATION REVEALED THE LEFT WINGTIP FUEL TANK WAS MISSING AND IT WAS NOT LOCATED. THE LEFT WING INBOARD TANK WAS LOCATED APPROXIMATELY 100 FT FROM THE MAIN WRECKAGE. THREE FLIGHT HOURS PRIOR TO THE ACCIDENT, THE LEFT AILERON WAS REPAIRED DUE TO DELAMINATION OF THE SKIN. THE KIT MANUFACTURER STATED THE WINGTIP TANKS SHOULD BE ATTACHED WITH 6 SCREWS, LARGE WASHERS AND NUT PLATES. REPORTEDLY, THE WINGTIP TANKS WERE ATTACHED WITH 4 SCREWS AND NUT PLATES WITH NO WASHERS.

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

THE IMPROPER INSTALLATION OF THE WINGTIP FUEL TANK WHICH RESULTED IN ITS INFLIGHT SEPARATION AND THE SUBSEQUENT LOSS OF CONTROL.

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