ANC94LA076
ANC94LA076

On July 07, 1994, at 1315 Alaska daylight time, a wheel equipped Maule M-4-210 airplane, N9808M, registered to and operated by the pilot-in-command, ground looped during landing on runway 22 at the Northway Airport, Northway, Alaska. The private certificated pilot and his two passengers, the sole occupants, were not injured and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The pleasure flight, conducted under 14 CFR Part 91, last departed the Merrill Field Airport in Anchorage, Alaska at 1010 and the destination was Northway. The pilot reported that visual meteorological conditions prevailed with variable directional wind and gusts. A VFR flight plan was in effect with the Kenai Flight Service Station (FSS).

The pilot, and FAA airworthiness inspector, told the NTSB investigator-in-charge during a telephone interview on the afternoon of July 07, 1994, that while landing on runway 22 he encountered variable and gusty wind conditions. He performed the approach with a little more airspeed than usual to compensate for any crosswind. The airplane touched down and bounced about two feet into the air before the main landing gear settled back onto the runway. As the tailwheel touched down, he pulled the power back to idle. Just as the power was reduced the right wing started to come up and he applied full right rudder as the airplane began to rotate to the left. He said that the rudder was ineffective at arresting the turn because he had reduced power and had little airflow over the rudder. As he started to add power, the left hand landing gear collapsed and the left wing hit the runway.

The pilot reported that the left hand landing gear to fuselage attachment fittings failed by pulling away from the fuselage longeron due to an unairworthy weld. An examination of the left hand landing gear fittings by FAA Supervisory Airworthiness Inspector James F. Kuykendall of Northwest Mountain Region FSDO-09 revealed that the welds to the fittings did not have proper weld penetration into the metal of the fittings and in some areas no penetration. The pilot reported that the landing gear fittings were installed by a repair station when the aircraft was repaired after an accident approximately 300 flight hours previous to this occurrence.

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