Investigation of the Fatigue Cracking Leading to the Fatal Crash of a Replica Wright Flyer
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On June 30, 2011, a replica of the original Wright Flyer was on a test flight manned by two experienced pilots. During what was to be a routine flight, the aircraft experienced a partial loss of thrust causing a spiraling descent into the ground. Examination of the wreckage revealed that the left propeller shaft had fractured around a weld, preventing the propeller from being driven by the engine. Following a failure analysis by the NTSB, fatigue cracks were found emanating from the welded areas of the propellers. These cracks led to separation of the propellers from the shafts, which led to loss of thrust of the aircraft.
KeywordsWeld Failure analysis Fatigue cracking
In accordance with Title 5 Code of Federal Regulations §2635.807(b) (2), the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of the National Transportation Safety Board or the United States.
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