Plane crash map Locate crash sites, wreckage and more

N109FH accident description

Hawaii map... Hawaii list
Crash location 21.579445°N, 158.202500°W
Nearest city Mokuleia, HI
21.584167°N, 158.151944°W
3.3 miles away
Tail number N109FH
Accident date 08 Mar 2017
Aircraft type Burkhart Grob G 109B
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

The pilot, who was the owner, of the powered glider reported that during the preflight he "did not note any anomalies or irregular motion of the control surfaces". He added that during a turn in cruise flight the rudder pedals "abruptly became unusual". He looked to the rear of the powered glider and saw that the rudder had detached from the top of the vertical stabilizer. He further added that the adverse yaw was "mild", so he continued to land. During the landing roll, the rudder separated from the empennage.

Photographs of the rudder hinges provided by the FAA showed extensive corrosion on the hinges. The upper hinge showed a clean fracture surface on both the rudder and vertical stabilizer sides of the hinge.

The pilot reported that he has an outdoor tie-down space on the airport where he parks the powered glider. The airport is located in a marine environment, less than one-half mile from the Pacific Ocean.

The flight manual section Titled "Daily Inspections" stated in part: "Prior to flight operations the following visual exterior checks have to be performed…

5. Tail unit

• Proper installation

• Securely locked

• Control connections locked

• Freedom of movement

• Damage

• Pitot pressure tube (vertical fin) checked, cover remove"

A review of maintenance records revealed that the most recent annual inspection was completed about 14 months before the accident. The most recent inspection performed on the powered glider was a 6000-hour "Extension of Life Time" inspection, which was performed about 9 months prior to the accident. In the 6000-hour inspection checklist, all line items were initialed "satisfactory" with the exception of the "visual check for any decay" line items for the aileron, controls in the fuselage, elevator/trim tab, and rudder, which were left un-initialed.

The mechanic who performed the most recent annual inspection and the 6000-hour "Extension of Life Time" inspection reported that he did not notice anything abnormal during either inspection and that during the 6000-hour inspection he did not carry his initials down to the "visual check for any decay" line items, but they were performed and the condition looked "satisfactory". He added that he believed the corrosion was responsible for the upper rudder hinge failure and that it is not uncommon for that amount of corrosion to form between the time that the most recent inspection was performed and the accident flight. He recommended that the glider should have been inspected more often and rinsed with water daily to remove any salt residue from ocean spray.

In a follow up email correspondence, the pilot reported that he believed that during the "Extension of Life Time" inspection, all inspections had been renewed. He added that only after the accident had he learned that the annual inspection had not been performed.

NTSB Probable Cause

The failure of the upper rudder hinge during flight due to severe corrosion. Contributing to the accident were the pilot’s inadequate preflight inspection and the lack of an annual inspection.

© 2009-2020 Lee C. Baker / Crosswind Software, LLC. For informational purposes only.