Mallards Grounded by FAA

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The FAA has mandated emergency wing inspections for Mallard seaplanes. The action follows a fatal crash in Miami on Dec. 19 in which a Mallard lost a wing shortly after takeoff. The pilot and 19 passengers all died in the crash. The Airworthiness Directive instructs that all affected aircraft must be inspected before further flight. If any cracking or corrosion is found, it must be repaired. A report of the inspection's findings must be sent to the FAA. About 40 Mallards are in operation. Chalk's Ocean Airways, which owned the one that crashed, is the only commercial operator. Once the wreckage was recovered, fatigue was quickly apparent. "We've seen fatigue. We don't know why that fatigue appeared. That is what we're trying to determine," Mark Rosenker, acting chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, told reporters. "This crack appears to extend through a majority of the spar at the location of the separation."