NTSB Identification: LAX02LA226.
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Accident occurred Friday, July 12, 2002 in Firebaugh, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/02/2004
Aircraft: Ayres S2R-T34, registration: N4020Y
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.

The airplane sustained a separated left main landing gear during the takeoff ground roll from a private farm airstrip. After the landing gear separated from the airplane, the airplane veered off of the runway and came to rest in a ditch. An FAA airworthiness inspector examined the airplane. He reported that the ear that secures the left main gear strut to the fuselage structure had fractured and separated, allowing the left gear strut to separate from the fuselage. The inspector examined the 30-foot-wide airstrip in the area used by the pilot for the takeoff ground roll. He located a chuck hole in the asphalt pavement that was 15 feet long by 3 feet wide and that had a maximum depth of 3 inches. At the northern end of the chuck hole (closest to the airplane point of rest), a 2.5-inch-deep lip was noted in the hole wall. Marks and transfers consistent with the landing gear and the fuselage contact to the pavement were noted just beyond this chuck hole.

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

The overload fracture and separation of the left main gear strut assembly due the left landing gear's encounter with a chuck hole in the private airstrip's asphalt pavement. A factor in the accident was the inadequate maintenance of the airstrip's surface.

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