Wing lift strut fatigue caused fatal float-plane crash near Little Grand Rapids: TSB

A de Havilland DHC-3 Otter float plane, the type that crashed near Little Grand Rapids in 2019.

A fracture in a float-plane’s wing lift strut led to a crash that killed three people near Little Grand Rapids in October of last year.

The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) released the details of its investigation Wednesday.

The TSB “found that a fatigue fracture in the right-hand wing lift strut assembly led to the 2019 in-flight breakup of a floatplane near Little Grand Rapids, Manitoba.”

The incident occurred on Oct. 26, 2019, when a float-plane operated by Blue Water Aviation left the small airport in Bisset on a flight to Little Grand Rapids.

The plane was carrying the pilot, two passengers and about 362 kilograms of freight.

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“While on approach to land on Family Lake, the aircraft’s right-hand wing separated from the fuselage. The aircraft then entered a nose-down attitude and struck the water surface.

“The pilot and the two passengers were fatally injured and the aircraft was destroyed by impact forces.”

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The TSB found that a “fatigue fracture” developed in one of the two upper right-hand wing lift strut attachment fittings, leading to the other fitting failing due to being overstressed.

When the plane made a left turn before its final approach, the right wing strut came apart from the plane wing, said the TSB.

“Following the occurrence, Viking Air Ltd. issued an Alert Service Bulletin calling for operators to perform more detailed testing on DHC-3 wing lift strut attachment fittings and lug plates.”


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