Factual Report: Eclipse loses fairing in flight

 - March 31, 2009, 4:40 AM

Eclipse EA500, Rockford, Ill., July 17, 2008–The North American Jet Charter Eclipse was on an IFR flight when the pilots reduced power to enter a cloud deck. As the Eclipse entered the clouds, the crew said the airplane buffeted “slightly” and they heard a “loud bang and short rumble” from the left rear of the airplane. Landing at their destination, Chicago Executive Airport, they discovered that the composite left-hand wing-to-body fairing had separated from the airplane, except for a piece of outboard curved fairing. All of the fairing screws were still attached to the underlying structure except for the forward-most three screws, which were missing. The associated nuts to these three missing screws were in place.

The fairing had been removed several times in the aircraft’s 255-hour service for recurring maintenance. It was last removed on the day before the incident. According to the operator, metal grommets attached to the composite structure begin to loosen when the fairing is repetitively removed. The operator had not submitted a service difficulty report regarding the problem. There were no injuries in the incident.