A new-build version of the Grumman Mallard amphibian is on the drawing boards, with the formation of Mallard Aircraft by type certificate holder Frakes Aviation. Based in Cleburne, Texas, Mallard Aircraft is headed by Sam Jantzen, Jr., managing director, who previously held pilot and executive positions with Cessna, Fairchild Aircraft, Commuter Air Technology, Raisbeck Engineering and Blackhawk Modifications.
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.
The NTSB has begun recovering the wreckage of the Chalk’s Ocean Airways Turbo Mallard that crashed off the coast of Miami yesterday afternoon, killing all 18 passengers and two crewmembers. The 1947 Grumman G-73T had taken off from the airline’s Watson Island seaplane base shortly before 2:40 p.m. for a flight to Bimini in the Bahamas, when only seconds later it broke apart in an inferno and fell into Government Cut.
Chalk’s Ocean Airways has voluntarily grounded its remaining fleet of four Grumman Turbo Mallards after investigators found a serious fatigue crack in the wing spar of the Mallard that crashed off Miami Beach on Monday. Meanwhile, NTSB investigators spent yesterday poring over flight and repair records and scrutinizing Chalk’s maintenance program, developed for the salt-water environment and rough landings the amphibians encountered each day.
An emergency AD issued Friday requires that before further flight operators perform a “detailed visual inspection to detect repairs, cracking or corrosion” of the wing spars and other structural components in Frakes Aviation turboprop-converted Mallard seaplanes. The directive follows the December 19 fatal crash of a Chalk’s Ocean Airways’ turboprop-converted Mallard when the right wing separated from the fuselage on takeoff.
A history of maintenance issues is unfolding at Chalks Ocean Airways, according to a series of recently released NTSB factual reports about last December’s crash of one of the carrier’s Grumman Mallard G73s in Miami, Fla., following separation of the right wing after takeoff. “The right wing fracture surfaces that were examined exhibited evidence of overstress and fatigue,” said the Safety Board.
The wing that separated from the Chalk’s Ocean Airways Grumman Turbo Mallard that crashed off Miami Beach last month showed signs of cracking in the main support beam that connected it to the fuselage, according to the NTSB.
Grumman G-73T Turbo Mallard, Miami Beach, Fla., Dec. 19, 2005–The right wing separated from a Chalk’s Turbo Mallard as it was taking off from Chalk’s Watson Island seaplane base. It plunged into the ocean, and all 20 people on board–18 passengers and two crewmembers–died. A witness said he heard a loud noise, then saw the wing fall off before the amphibious airplane fell into the water in flames.
A history of maintenance issues is unfolding at Chalks Ocean Airways, according to a series of recently released NTSB factual reports about last December’s crash of one of the carrier’s Grumman Turbo Mallard G73s in Miami, following separation of the right wing after takeoff. “The right wing fracture surfaces that were examined exhibited evidence of overstress and fatigue,” said the Safety Board.
Relatives of the 20 passengers and crew killed last year in the December 19 crash of a Grumman Turbo Mallard off Miami Beach will share some $51 million under the terms of a tentative settlement of all related lawsuits against Chalk’s Ocean Airways, according to court documents. The $51 million figure represents the limit of Chalks’ insurance policy.