MIA96LA108
MIA96LA108

On March 20, 1996, about 1951 eastern standard time, a Boeing 737-200, Irish registration EI-CLK, operated by Air South Airlines, Inc., as flight 904, a 14 CFR Part 121 scheduled domestic passenger flight, from Miami, Florida, to Atlanta, Georgia, with a scheduled stop in Jacksonville, Florida, sustained separation of the nose gear taxi light and resultant foreign object damage to both engines during takeoff from Jacksonville. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed. The aircraft sustained substantial damage and the airline transport-rated pilot, first officer, 3 flight attendants, and 57 passengers were not injured. The flight was departing Jacksonville at the time of the accident.

The captain stated that during rotation they observed sparks coming from the left side of the aircraft. All engine instruments showed normal readings. They returned to Jacksonville and landed without incident. Postaccident examination showed the nose gear taxi light support bracket had failed and the nose gear taxi light assembly had separated from the aircraft. A portion of the support bracket remained attached to the nose landing gear. The compressor sections of both engines had sustained foreign object damage.

The nose gear taxi light assembly installed on all Boeing 737 series aircraft is made by Grimes Aerospace Company. On June 1, 1992, Grimes issued Service Bulletin 50-0199-33-0004, which describes a modification to replace the aluminum support bracket with a steel bracket on the nose gear taxi light assembly of newer Boeing 737 series aircraft. On November 30, 1993, Grimes issued Service Bulletin 50-0128-33-005, which requires installation of the steel bracket on the nose gear taxi light assembly of older Boeing 737 series aircraft. On December 19, 1994, Boeing Commercial Airplane Group issued Service Letter 737-SL-33-016-A, which recommended that all operators of Boeing 737 series aircraft comply with the above referenced Grimes Service Bulletins. See attached Grimes Service Bulletins and Boeing Service Letter.

Service history showed the aluminum bracket was subject to damage from the nose gear tow bar during towing operations. The improved stainless steel bracket is resistant to damage from towing operations. Examination of the portion of the nose gear taxi light bracket which remained attached to the nose landing gear, showed it was made from aluminum.

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