Thursday, December 21, 2017

American Champion 7GCAA Citabria, N519MA, registered to CAG International Inc and operated by Fly Elite Aviation: Accident occurred December 20, 2017 at Vance Brand Airport (KLMO), Longmont, Boulder County, Colorado

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Denver, Colorado

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: 

CAG International Inc dba Fly Elite Aviation

Location: Longmont, CO
Accident Number: CEN18LA059
Date & Time: 12/20/2017, 0850 MST
Registration: N519MA
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Sys/Comp malf/fail (non-power)
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 

On December 20, 2017, about 0850 mountain standard time, an American Champion Aircraft 7GCAA, N519MA, landed hard and departed the left side runway at Vance Brand Airport (LMO), Longmont, Colorado. The flight instructor and private pilot were not injured and the airplane sustained substantial damage during the runway excursion. The airplane was registered to CAG International Inc., and operated by Fly Elite Aviation, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an instructional flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and no flight pan had been filed. The local flight departed about 0845.

The flight instructor reported that private pilot made a hard landing during an instructional flight. The flight instructor heard a "snapping" sound during the landing so he took over the flight controls. He increased the throttle to compensate for the bounced landing and then landed the airplane on the runway. The left landing gear collapsed upward and aft damaging the left wing strut. The airplane continued forward on its nose and left wing as it departed the left side of the runway near taxiway A2.

The responding Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector reported that the left landing gear thru-bolt was fractured. The left wing was bent upward, and the bottom and left side of the fuselage was damaged.

A metallurgical examination of the landing gear thru-bolt fracture revealed a primary fatigue fracture that initiated at the shank surface and propagated through about 60% of the bolt diameter. A second fatigue crack initiated on the shank surface about 180° from the primary crack and propagated through 20% to 30% of the bolt diameter. The fracture surface exhibited a narrow region of overstress fracture between the two fatigue crack regions.

On December 13, 1978, Bellanca Aircraft Corporation issued FAA approved service letter C-135 for the purposes of inspecting landing gear thru-bolts and U-bolts. The service letter applied to the accident airplane and was issued due to reports of cracked and failed thru-bolts and U-bolts which were used to attach the landing gear to the fuselage frame. The service letter stated that these problems were due to one or more of the following: (1) excessive loads during soft or rough runway operations; (2) improper torque; (3) corrosion. The service letter recommended the inspections be performed on or before the next 100-hour inspection and at 100-hour intervals thereafter, and at more frequent intervals if the aircraft is used in soft or rough runway operations.

The airplane owner stated that the Bellanca service letter C-135 had not been complied with, nor was it required under the FAA regulations. The owner provided documentation that on September 7, 2017, an airframe annual inspection and engine 100-hour inspection were completed at tachometer time 1,817.5 hours. 

Flight Instructor Information

Certificate: Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 56, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Rear
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Glider
Restraint Used: 5-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Multi-engine; Airplane Single-engine; Instrument Airplane
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 1 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 11/02/2017
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 11/10/2017
Flight Time:  3200 hours (Total, all aircraft), 118 hours (Total, this make and model), 45 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 16 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 38, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 10/13/2014
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 05/20/2017
Flight Time:  144 hours (Total, all aircraft), 8 hours (Total, this make and model), 8 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 6 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Registration: N519MA
Model/Series: 7GCAA NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2004
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Aerobatic; Normal
Serial Number: 489-2004
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 09/07/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1750 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 1847 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91  installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-320-B2B
Rated Power: 160 hp
Operator: Fly Elite Aviation
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KLMO, 5056 ft msl
Observation Time: 0855 MST
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 330°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 6°C / -4°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 4 knots, 340°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting:  29.81 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration:  No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Longmont, CO (LMO)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Longmont, CO (LMO)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0845 MST
Type of Airspace: Class E 

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Concrete
Airport Elevation: 5055 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 29
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 4799 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Traffic Pattern 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude:  40.165833, -105.166111 (est)

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