On May 2, 1996, at 0745 central daylight time (cdt), a Fairchild, M-62C, N67481, operated by a commercial pilot, sustained substantial damage when on takeoff roll, the airplane veered left off of the runway. The airplane subsequently impacted two fences before coming to a stop in a ravine. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The aerial application flight was being conducted under 14 CFR part 137. The pilot reported no injuries. The local flight was originating from a private strip, 8 miles southwest of Garden City, Kansas.

In his written statement, the pilot reported that on takeoff roll, the airplane accelerated normally to about 70 miles per hour. The airplane's tailwheel had lifted off and the weight of the airplane was on the main landing gear. "Just prior to liftoff, the left main landing gear strut failed causing the left tire to be wedged against the upper strut. This caused severe tire braking and skidding on the runway. The aircraft departed the runway to the left, went through a pasture fence and came to rest about 150 feet east of the runway."

An Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) mechanic examined the wreckage at the scene. Both main landing gear had separated from the airplane. The center section of the right wing spar was cracked. The fuel lines which run underneath the left wing had been torn off. The leading edges of both wings and the underside of the forward fuselage exhibited skin wrinkling. The forward fuselage and firewall were bent up and right. One propeller blade tip was bent slightly aft. The other blade was undamaged. The engine case and bearings were cracked. Flight control continuity was established. Closer examination of the left main landing gear strut revealed internal corrosion at the location where the strut failed. No other anomalies were found.

The airplane was a Weatherly M-conversion of a Fairchild PT-23 military training airplane, for agricultural use. The airplane was originally placed in service in 1941. The airplane was being operated with the original landing gear at the time of the accident.

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