AIG, Flying Boat Sue Grumman, Frakes for Mx Defects

 - January 21, 2009, 8:53 AM

Flying Boat, also known as Chalk’s Ocean Airways, and insurance giant AIG are suing Northrop Grumman and Frakes Aviation following the fatal crash of a Chalk’s Grumman G-73 Mallard on Dec. 19, 2005. The Mallard’s right wing broke off shortly after takeoff and the amphibious turboprop twin crashed into the water near the Miami Seaplane Base, killing 18 passengers and two pilots. Flying Boat and AIG allege that the Grumman defendants, manufacturers of the Mallard, didn’t provide adequate maintenance and inspection protocols for the center wing box and the wing/fuselage attachment structure. Frakes Aviation is accused of not properly modifying the Mallard, not showing Flying Boat how to inspect and maintain the Mallard after the modifications, which included a turboprop engine conversion, and not noticing design defects in the airframe. AIG said it paid $50 million to the families of the two pilots and 18 passengers. The NTSB determined that the probable cause of the accident was “the failure of the Chalk’s Ocean Airways maintenance program to identify and properly repair fatigue cracks in the right wing and the failure of the FAA to detect and correct deficiencies in the company’s maintenance program.”