The team that is working to bring the amphibious Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-powered Turbine Mallard into production has been traveling globally to talk to potential customers and possible manufacturing partners, according to general manager Sam Jantzen. “We currently have some interest from manufacturers and from other investment groups to partner in this project,” he told AIN.
A new-build version of the Grumman Mallard amphibian is on the drawing boards, with the formation of Mallard Aircraft by type certificate holder Frakes Aviation. Based in Cleburne, Texas, Mallard Aircraft is headed by Sam Jantzen, Jr., managing director, who previously held pilot and executive positions with Cessna, Fairchild Aircraft, Commuter Air Technology, Raisbeck Engineering and Blackhawk Modifications.
Frakes Aviation, now in its fifth decade, manufactures exhaust stacks for modification companies and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), but there is a lot more to the company’s history than just exhaust stacks.
Flying Boat, also known as Chalk’s Ocean Airways, and insurance giant AIG are suing Northrop Grumman and Frakes Aviation following the fatal crash of a Chalk’s Grumman G-73 Mallard on Dec. 19, 2005. The Mallard’s right wing broke off shortly after takeoff and the amphibious turboprop twin crashed into the water near the Miami Seaplane Base, killing 18 passengers and two pilots.
An emergency AD issued Friday requires that before further flight operators perform a “detailed visual inspection to detect repairs, cracking or corrosion” of the wing spars and other structural components in Frakes Aviation turboprop-converted Mallard seaplanes. The directive follows the December 19 fatal crash of a Chalk’s Ocean Airways’ turboprop-converted Mallard when the right wing separated from the fuselage on takeoff.
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.
Grumman G-73T Turbo Mallard, Miami Beach, Fla., Dec. 19, 2005–The right wing separated from a Chalk’s Turbo Mallard as it was taking off from Chalk’s Watson Island seaplane base. It plunged into the ocean, and all 20 people on board–18 passengers and two crewmembers–died. A witness said he heard a loud noise, then saw the wing fall off before the amphibious airplane fell into the water in flames.