Maintenance Issues Revealed at Chalks
A history of maintenance issues is unfolding at Chalks Ocean Airways, according to a series of recently released NTSB factual reports about last December’s crash of one of the carrier’s Grumman Mallard G73s in Miami, Fla., following separation of the right wing after takeoff. “The right wing fracture surfaces that were examined exhibited evidence of overstress and fatigue,” said the Safety Board. Subsequent examination of two other Chalks Mallards showed “extensive corrosion” of wing structural components. The NTSB also found many “poorly documented and below-standards” repairs to the accident airplane’s wing structure. Pilot morale issues regarding maintenance were ostensibly addressed in August 2004, noted the Board. But the accident captain’s husband told investigators that she “was concerned before the accident that the aircraft at Chalks were not well maintained.” Since the accident Mallards have been grounded under AD 2006-01-51, which calls for a detailed inspection of the wing structure followed by any necessary repairs. Frakes Aviation of Cleburne, Texas, owns the Mallard type certificate and is developing the inspection procedure.