NTSB Identification: LAX02LA216.
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Accident occurred Saturday, July 06, 2002 in Sacramento, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/17/2003
Aircraft: Grumman-Schweizer G-164B, registration: N3631B
Injuries: 1 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.

After taking off and initiating a left turn at an altitude of approximately 15 feet agl, the pilot heard a "loud bang and a sharp jolt as the airplane began shaking violently." The pilot leveled the wings and reduced power; however, the vibration did not subside. He then initiated a shallow right turn in order to land on a road. "As I began to maneuver for landing I saw a burst of flame from the exhaust and heard the engine quit and felt the aircraft settle." The airplane impacted a levee and flipped over, coming to rest inverted. During post-accident investigation of the wreckage, it was noted that the outboard section of one propeller blade was missing. The inboard section of the Hamilton Standard propeller blade was sent to the NTSB Materials Laboratory Division for examination. It was reported that the blade was fractured approximately 26 to 27 inches from the butt end. Optical examination of the fracture face found features consistent with fatigue progression over the majority of the fracture. Closer examinations revealed beach marks and other progression features indicating fatigue initiation at a mechanical dent on the camber surface near midspan. Further examination indicated that fatigue accounted for approximately 70% of the total fracture area.

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

Propeller blade failure due to fatigue. A contributing factor was the rising embankment.

Full narrative available

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