On January 23, 1995, at 2115 mountain standard time, the pilot of a Boeing 737-300, N155AW, experienced an uncommanded roll to the right during takeoff from runway 26 from Albuquerque(ABQ), New Mexico. The aircraft, owned by America West Airlines, Inc., and operated under 14 CFR Part 121 as flight 959, was not damaged, nor were there any injuries to the crew or passengers. Visual meteorological conditions existed at the time. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
After this incident, this aircraft was involved in three other separate uncommanded momentary rolls to the right during rotation at Las Vegas, Nevada; Boston, Massachusetts; and Columbus, Ohio. For each occurrence, the pilots were able to correct the situation and continue with the respective flights.
After the initial notification from America West Airlines on the first two incidents, the flight data recorder and a broken upper wing surface support rod from the fixed panel inboard of the No. 6 spoiler, were removed and sent to the National Transportation Safety Board Metallurgical Laboratory for analysis. Maintenance personnel adjusted the spoilers and ailerons. The aircraft was test flown and returned to service.
The third incident occurred two days later during rotation at Boston. The aircraft continued to Columbus, where it was grounded. The aircraft was returned to Phoenix, Arizona, on a ferry flight for further examination. During the departure from Columbus, the fourth incident occurred.
A verbal report from the America West 737 fleet manager on March 2, 1995, indicated that the left main landing gear strut had been overserviced with nitrogen gas over a period of time. According to the fleet manager, when the aircraft weight on the main landing gear is reduced during rotation, the overpressurized left strut lifts the left wing into the air, giving the pilots a rolling sensation to the right. The left main landing gear strut was reserviced with oil and nitrogen, multiple test flights were flown with no repeat of the problem, and the aircraft has since been returned to service.
The aircraft had 19,943 cycles as of January 26, 1995. A "C" check was done on August 25, 1994, and an "A-9" check was completed on January 13, 1995.
The metallurgical examination showed that the support rod fractured at an attachment to one of the clevis fittings. The separation occurred in line with the furthest inboard rivet. Fracture matching disclosed that a portion of the rod shaft separation did not mate with the shaft fracture that was attached to the clevis fitting. Scanning electron microscopic (SEM) viewing of the cleaned fracture disclosed evidence of striations indicative of high-cycle fatigue cracking over most of the fracture surface. The metallurgist report is attached for more information.