Accident Ayres S-2R-T34 Turbo Thrush N3103D, Saturday 14 June 1997
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Date:Saturday 14 June 1997
Type:Silhouette image of generic SS2T model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Ayres S-2R-T34 Turbo Thrush
Owner/operator:Hatley Flying Service
Registration: N3103D
MSN: T34-153
Total airframe hrs:4668 hours
Engine model:P&W PT6A-T34AG
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Corning, AR -   United States of America
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Departure airport:Delaplaine, AR
Destination airport:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
On June 14, 1997, at 1017 central daylight time, an Ayres S2R-T34 agricultural airplane, N3103D, was destroyed following an inflight break-up while maneuvering near Corning, Arkansas. The instrument rated commercial pilot, sole occupant of the airplane, was fatally injured. The airplane, owned and operated by Hatley Flying Service of Delaplaine, Arkansas, was being operated under Title 14 CFR Part 137 at the time of the accident. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local aerial application for which a flight plan was not filed. The flight originated from Delaplaine, Arkansas, at approximately 0945.

The left wing of an agricultural airplane separated in flight while maneuvering during an aerial application flight. A witness observed the left wing of the airplane falling to the ground and the 'airplane cork screwing to the ground.' The left wing came to rest 90 yards from the tree line, with the main wreckage coming to rest approximately 289 yards beyond the left wing. A metallurgical examination of the fractured wing revealed that the separation of the lower spar cap was the result of a fatigue crack that emanated from the 1/4 inch diameter hole for the center splice fitting. The examination also revealed that the tensile strengths for the left wing spar cap was lower that that specified in the engineering drawing provided by the manufacturer. A review of the airframe records revealed that Ayres Service Bulletin No. SB-AG-39 ('Wing Spar Inspection and Fatigue Life Extension'), issued 17 September 1996, had not been complied with by the operator. This SB included procedures for accomplishing a magnetic particle inspection around the lower spar cap's bolt holes.

Probable Cause: The in-flight separation of the left wing as result of fatigue crack of the lower spar cap due to inadequate materials by the manufacturer. A factor was the operator's failure to comply with a published service bulletin on the airframe.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: FTW97FA220
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 10 months
Download report: Final report




Photos: NTSB

Revision history:

24-Oct-2008 10:30 ASN archive Added
21-Dec-2016 19:24 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
18-Oct-2022 17:47 Captain Adam Updated [Operator, Narrative, Accident report, Photo]
18-Oct-2022 17:48 Captain Adam Updated [Photo]

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