Aviation safety investigations & reports

Piper PA-38 Tomahawk, VH-FTX, Bankstown NSW, 31 December 1988

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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The aircraft returned to the Bankstown circuit after a period of dual instruction in the training area. The instructor, who was flying the aircraft, landed on runway 11 centre. After touchdown the right main gear leg separated from the wing; the aircraft swerved to the right and came to rest on the grassed area between runways centre and right. The investigation revealed the front attachment bolt of the right main gear leg had failed due to long term fatigue cracking. Corrosion of all attachment bolts was found which indicated moisture had entered the bolt holes. Degrading of bolt pre-load occurred as a result of corrosion beneath the bolt heads. The remaining two attachment bolts held the leg in place for approximately nine take-off and landing cycles before the final failure which led to the gear leg separating from the wing mounting. The organisation responsible for maintenance of the aircraft indicated periodic inspections were conducted in accordance with Civil Aviation Order 100.5.1. This order requires a visual inspection of the main landing gear components for condition and security. However, the aircraft manufacturer specifies in its periodic inspection schedule that main landing gear bolts are to be inspected for condition, torque and security,every 100 hours. Existing Civil Aviation Orders do not require maintenance organisations to comply with aircraft manufacturer's inspection schedules. Had the maintenance organisation complied with the manufacturer's inspection schedule, the failure of the front attachment bolt might have been prevented. This accident was not the subject of an on-scene investigation.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 23KB]
General details
Date: 31 December 1988   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1334    
Location: Bankstown    
State: New South Wales    
Release date: 13 March 1990   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Piper Aircraft Corp  
Aircraft model PA-38  
Aircraft registration VH-FTX  
Serial number 38-79A0268  
Type of operation Flying Training  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Bankstown NSW  
Departure time 1250 approx.  
Destination Bankstown NSW