NTSB Releases Details of Daytona Beach Accident

Piper wing failure points to metal fatigue.

ERAU training aircraft
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's flight school’s fleet of Piper Arrow training aircraft will remain grounded for the foreseeable future.Gary Rosier

An Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University spokesman confirmed the flight school's fleet of Piper Arrow training aircraft will remain grounded for the foreseeable future following the recent morning crash of a PA28R being flown by an ERAU student on an FAA flight test. The left wing of the aircraft separated from the airplane shortly after the pilot completed a touch and go landing on runway 25 Left at Daytona Beach International airport (DAB).

A preliminary report released by the NTSB this week said the left wing main spar of the 2007 Arrow “revealed that more than 80 percent of the lower spar cap and portions of the forward and aft spar web doublers exhibited fracture features consistent with metal fatigue.”

Radar data indicated the Piper had climbed to approximately 900 feet heading southwest before radar contact was lost. A number of eye witnesses within a half mile of the aircraft all reported the aircraft operating normally until the left wing separated from the fuselage and landed in a field a few hundred feet from where the main fuselage came to rest. Both the pilot and the designated pilot examiner aboard the aircraft perished in the accident.

DAB weather, reported as light winds, good visibility and high cloud layer, does not appear to have been a factor in the accident. The fractured left wing main spar portion, along with the box assembly and attached inboard end of the right-wing spar were forwarded to the NTSB Materials Laboratory for detailed examination.