Aviation safety investigations & reports

Mitchell U2, Skipton VIC, 16 December 1984

Investigation number:
198402364
Status: Completed
Investigation completed

Summary

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The aircraft was a tail-less homebuilt ultralight with a cantilever wing. It was reported that the pilot had made several flights during the day without apparent incident. On the subject flight the aircraft was observed to begin a gentle turn to the right, around a sports oval. The wings were seen to suddenly fold upwards, the right wing broke away and the remainder of the aircraft fell to the ground. It was determined that the wooden main spar of the wing had failed at the point where the right landing gear was bolted to the main spar caps. Tests on the wood revealed that it was not of aircraft quality, although the plans for the aircraft specified that aircraft quality spruce was required. The wood was not protected by paint or varnish from seasonal changes in temperature or moisture. The plans also called for the wing nose ribs to be constructed from styrafoam, however the investigation discovered that the material used was expanded polystyrene. This material is less rigid than styrafoam. The pilot had purchased the aircraft from interstate in a partially constructed condition, with the main spar and the nose ribs already completed. He was evidently unaware of the poor quality of the material used in the construction, which led to the failure of the structure under normal flight loads.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 22KB]
 
 
 
General details
Date: 16 December 1984   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1740 Approx    
Location: Carranballac    
State: Victoria   Occurrence type: Airframe - Other  
Release date: 08 July 1985   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Fatal  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Amateur Built Aircraft  
Aircraft model Mitchell U2  
Type of operation Unknown  
Damage to aircraft Destroyed  
Departure point Carranballac, VIC  
Departure time 1740 Approx  
Destination Carranballac, VIC  
Last update 13 May 2014