On December 19, 2005, about 1439 eastern standard time, a Grumman Turbo Mallard (G-73T) amphibious airplane, N2969, operated by Flying Boat, Inc., doing business as Chalk's Ocean Airways flight 101, crashed into a shipping channel adjacent to the Port of Miami, Florida, shortly after takeoff from the Miami Seaplane Base. Flight 101 was a regularly scheduled passenger flight to Bimini, Bahamas, with 2 flight crewmembers and 18 passengers on board. The airplane's right wing separated during flight. All 20 people aboard the airplane were killed, and the airplane was destroyed by impact forces. Flight 101 was operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121 on a visual flight rules flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the in-flight failure and separation of the right wing during normal flight, which resulted from (1) the failure of the Chalk's Ocean Airways maintenance program to identify and properly repair fatigue cracks in the right wing and (2) the failure of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to detect and correct deficiencies in the company's maintenance program.
The safety issues discussed in this report focus on air carrier maintenance programs and practices and FAA oversight procedures for air carrier maintenance programs. Safety recommendations concerning these issues are addressed to the FAA.
As a result of the investigation of this accident, the National Transportation Safety Board makes the following recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration:
Verify that the maintenance programs of commercial aircraft operators include stringent criteria to address recurring or systemic discrepancies to include, if necessary, further analysis of the discrepancies through a comprehensive engineering evaluation. (A-07-39)
Identify the systemic deficiencies in the maintenance program oversight procedures that led to this accident and modify those procedures to ensure that the maintenance program plans for commercial operators are adequate to ensure the continued airworthiness, both structural and otherwise, of the operator's fleet. (A-07-40)
Previously Issued Recommendation Reiterated and Classified in This Report
The Safety Board reiterates the following recommendation to the Federal Aviation Administration:
Include the Continuing Analysis and Surveillance System guidance from Advisory Circular (AC) 120-16D, "Continuing Airworthiness Maintenance Programs," and AC 120-79, "Developing and Implementing a Continuing Analysis [and] Surveillance System," in Federal Aviation Administration Order 8300.10, Airworthiness Inspector's Handbook. (A-04-14)
Further, Safety Recommendation A-04-14 (previously classified "Open- Acceptable Response") is classified "Open-Unacceptable Response" in section 2.4.2 of this report.
Previously Issued Recommendation Resulting From This Accident Investigation
As a result of the investigation into this accident, the Safety Board issued the following recommendation to the FAA on July 24, 2006:
Require records reviews, aging airplane inspections, and supplemental inspections for all airplanes operated under 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 121, all U.S.-registered airplanes operated under 14 CFR Part 129, and all airplanes used in scheduled operations under 14 CFR Part 135. This would include those airplanes operated under 14 CFR Part 135 that carry nine or fewer passengers and those that are operated in scheduled cargo service. (A-06-52)
For more information about this recommendation, see sections 188.8.131.52 and 2.5 in this report.