On February 25, 2012, about 1615 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-36-300, N59661, was substantially damaged following a loss of control on the ground during landing, after a section of the right wing leading edge separated in flight, at the Jimmy Carter Regional Airport (ACJ), Americus, Georgia. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed. The certificated commercial pilot was not injured. The maintenance test flight was conducted under the provision of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the pilot, the flight departed runway 28 and during the initial climb, about 75 feet above ground level, the airplane pulled abruptly to the right. The pilot applied maximum power and left rudder in order to maintain control of the airplane. During the landing touchdown on runway 5, the airplane veered immediately to the right, departed the side of the runway, crossed a taxiway and a ditch, and then came to rest approximately 300 feet to the right of the runway.

According to photographs provided by the operator, the 66 inch midspan section of the fiberglass leading edge had separated along the gang channel. Approximately 18 inches remained at the accident location but was separated from the wing, and the remaining section was not located.

A Federal Aviation Administration inspector examined the airplane and noted that several of the 92 screws required to hold the midspan section exhibited signs of uneven torque and that two of the screws located on the top inboard corner, and several screws located underside of the leading edge were unable to be located.

According to the airplane maintenance records, the most recent 100-hour inspection was completed on August 17, 2011, and the recorded Hobbs time was 4,899.5 hours. The most recent logbook entry was dated October 6, 2011; the recorded Hobbs time was 4,994.5 hours. According to the operator, aerial spray equipment had just been installed; however, no entry for the installation was noted in the maintenance records.

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