NTSB Identification: WPR13LA262
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, June 04, 2013 in Burlington, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/11/2014
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-140, registration: N5808U
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.

During the landing roll, the airplane began to veer right, and the pilot applied left rudder and left braking action to align the airplane with the runway; however, both actions were ineffective. The airplane departed the right side of the runway and impacted an airport sign and a ditch. Postaccident examination of the left rudder bar assembly found that it had failed due to a fatigue crack. A rusted brown oxidized area near the center of the crack and surface features consistent with slow-growth fatigue indicated that the crack had been growing incrementally over a period of years. A review of the manufacturer’s periodic inspection checklist, maintenance manual, and Service Letter No. 671 indicated that the rudder bar assembly should be inspected every 100 hours specifically for cracks in the area where the airplane’s rudder bar failed. If maintenance personnel had inspected the airplane in accordance with these documents, the crack likely would have been found and the accident prevented.

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

The failure of the rudder bar assembly during landing due to a fatigue crack. Contributing to the accident was the failure of maintenance personnel to perform an adequate inspection of the rudder bar assembly.

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