FAA wants U.S. DHC-3 operators to conduct inspections following fatal accident

The Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday said it was contacting De Havilland Canada DHC-3 operators in the United States to ensure they conduct inspections recommended by the manufacturer after a fatal crash in Washington state killed 10 last month.

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The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) earlier issued an "urgent safety recommendation" asking the FAA and Transport Canada to take "immediate action" to require all operators of DHC-3 seaplanes to conduct an immediate one-time inspection of the horizontal stabilizer actuator lock ring in accordance with the instructions from Viking Air Ltd.

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In September, a DHC-3 entered a nose-down near-vertical descent and crashed into Mutiny Bay, Washington. NTSB investigators found the horizontal stabilizer actuator, part of the airplane's pitch trim control system, had separated into two pieces.

Transport Canada said its "aviation safety experts are reviewing the United States National Transportation Safety Board recommendation carefully and will not hesitate to take immediate actions regarding the aircraft to ensure public safety."

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A letter from Viking Air Ltd on Wednesday reviewed by Reuters recommended "aircraft operators and maintainers inspect the stabilizer actuator and verify that the lock ring is present and correctly installed." NTSB wants FAA and Transport Canada to mandate the inspections.

"Immediate action needs to be taken to inspect the actuator of DHC-3 airplanes, of which 40% operate in the United States, to prevent a similar tragedy from happening," NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy said in a statement.

The FAA said there are about 68 DHC-3 planes registered in the United States. Viking owns the manufacturing rights to the DHC-3 but does not build it.

Viking Air said it "continues to support the NTSB in their ongoing investigation" and noted it had issued the letter to operators. The FAA said it could take additional action based on any additional actions the Canadian authorities take.

Source: Reuters

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