NTSB Identification: ANC02LA050.
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Nonscheduled 14 CFR
Accident occurred Friday, June 14, 2002 in Talkeetna, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/18/2003
Aircraft: Cessna 185F, registration: N333DG
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The certificated commercial pilot, with one passenger aboard, was departing from a 900 foot long gravel bar in a tail wheel equipped airplane. The flight was operated as an on-demand charter flight. During acceleration for takeoff, after reaching about 45 knots, the left main landing gear strut fractured above the left wheel axle. The upper portion of the gear strut dug into the ground, and the airplane swerved to the left. The airplane continued off the left side of the site, and the right wing struck the ground. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the right wing and fuselage. The operator reported that a visual inspection of the fractured landing gear strut revealed a fracture through the upper two holes in the gear strut. The lower end of the spring steel landing gear strut has four holes drilled through the metal in a box pattern. The axle is attached to the outboard side of the strut. Neither the manufacturer nor the FAA have established a life limit (hours or cycles) for the main landing gear strut. An annual inspection does not require disassembly of the axle from the gear strut. No inspection procedures, other than a general visual inspection of the landing gear, have been specified by the manufacturer or the FAA. On March 16, 2001, the NTSB recommended that the FAA issue an airworthiness directive (AD) to require an initial and recurring inspection of Cessna main landing gear spring steel struts, using nondestructive inspection techniques. On August 31, 2001, the FAA reported to the NTSB that the current inspection criteria outlined in the Cessna Maintenance Manual are adequate to detect cracks in the main landing gear struts, and that additional airworthiness action is not warranted. On March 25, 2002, the NTSB responded by stating, in part: "The Safety Board continues to believe that a visual inspection alone will not detect cracks in the Cessna main landing gear spring struts. However, the Safety Board acknowledges that the statistical evidence does not warrant issuance of ADs at this time as called for in the Board's recommendation." The safety recommendation was then classified as: "Closed-Reconsidered."

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

A fracture failure of the lower end of the spring steel landing gear strut. Factors contributing to the accident were the manufacturer's and the FAA's insufficient standards/requirements for inspection procedures.

Full narrative available

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