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Wing Broke On Crash Skymaster

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The outboard six feet of the right wing on a Cessna 337 broke off just before the aircraft crashed and killed five people in New Jersey last week. Just what effect that will have on Cessna's process to initiate an extensive wing inspection program on the aging aircraft isn't clear at this point but it's likely to come up. As AVweb reported in January, Cessna is developing a supplemental inspection document (SID) that focuses on the wing attach points of the Skymaster series. It appears the Feb. 15 failure was outboard of the strut attachment point and involved failure of the "horizontal flange of the forward spar lower cap," according to the NTSB preliminary report. The report says the failure occurred as the aircraft pitched up after a high-speed, low-altitude flyby at Monmouth County Executive Airport. The aircraft had STC'd tip tanks and had taken on 90 gallons of fuel prior to the flight.

The pilot, a 45-year-old ATP, was in the right seat while his Polish private pilot friend was in the left. Another adult, a 14-year-old boy and a six-year-old boy were on board. The accident happened about four minutes into the flight. Relatives of those on board were at the airport but reports say they likely didn't witness the crash. The NTSB says the wing section, which included the aileron, was found on the runway, about 633 feet from the main wreckage, and showed signs of going through the rear propeller.

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