NTSB Identification: ANC05LA046.
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Nonscheduled 14 CFR
Accident occurred Monday, March 07, 2005 in Talkeetna, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/28/2006
Aircraft: de Havilland DHC-2, registration: N3307S
Injuries: 4 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 airline transport pilot was conducting a mountain sightseeing flight with three passengers under Title 14, CFR Part 135. The pilot said the flight was at 11,000 feet msl and encountering some turbulence, when the airplane started to shake violently. He said he could not control the airplane, and stopped the engine in case it was creating the problem. The shaking continued until he slowed the airplane to 80 mph. He restarted the engine, and landed safely. An examination of the airplane revealed that both wings were structurally damaged. Prior to the event, the pilot had been taking a digital video with audio through the window of the airplane. The recording shows the airplane in a wings level attitude in VFR conditions. When dropped to the floor after the initiation of the event, the camera continued to record. The audio recording revealed a vibration for about 3 to 7 seconds in the 8.2 to 8.4 Hz range, which is in the appropriate range for the wing bending/torsional first mode of vibration. Nothing on the visual or audio recording indicated the airplane was being flown outside its normal operating envelope. The airplane was examined by aerospace engineers from the Anchorage FAA Aircraft Certification Office. Damage signatures indicated that the rear spars of both wings oscillated up and down with significant amplitude at span station 92.5. The bushing holes in the rear spar attachment fittings were elongated, and the right aileron and rudder were severely under-balanced. The engineers were not able to ascertain if the aileron cable tension was adjusted properly prior to the event. In 1980, prompted by flutter events, the manufacturer produced Service Bulletin 2/29, relating aileron/wing flutter to more than one of the following four conditions: ailerons not balanced; aileron cables in the wing slack; deterioration in the stiffness of the aileron mounting structure in the fuselage; and/or the airplane being flown outside the limits of the flight manual. On February 20, 1980, in response to the manufacturer's service bulletin, the FAA issued Airworthiness Directive AD 80-24-02, which required inspections of the airplane's wings, spars, and aileron cable tension and balance, based on service time and part numbers.

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

Aerodynamic flutter of the ailerons during normal cruise flight due to their improper maintenance/balancing, which resulted in structural damage to the airplane's wings.

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