NTSB Identification: MIA06LA074.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, March 29, 2006 in Daytona Beach, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/20/2007
Aircraft: Piper PA-44-180, registration: N938ER
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 landing gear was confirmed to be down and locked, three green annunciator lights were noted, and the nose landing gear was visually seen to be down and locked. The airplane touched down, veered sharply to the left and departed the runway. It collided with a runway distance remaining sign, damaging the right wing. Post-accident examination revealed the nose landing gear had collapsed. The upper drag brace (that connects the nose gear to the fuselage) was fractured, and the pivot lug (that connects the upper brace to the lower brace) was fractured in two places. The pivot lug fractures were consistent with overload stress separations. At least 13 internal horizontal and parallel cracks were uncovered near the vertical centerline of the brace. The cracks followed the grain flow lines resulting from forging. Flow lines were longitudinal in the arm portion of the brace with a smooth, gently curving transition into the thicker portion of the lug. However, flow lines in the upper fracture were convoluted and tightly twisted. A laboratory-induced fracture of the brace revealed an irregular boundary with ductile overstress features interspersed along the edge of the crack. Low magnification revealed a smooth, undulating surface. High magnification revealed a fine granular texture. Energy dispersive x-ray spectra revealed an increased oxygen level on the crack surface.

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

Failure of the nose landing gear upper drag brace assembly due to overload acting on an undetected forging defect formed during the initial forging of the brace. A contributing factor in this accident was the runway distance remaining sign.

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