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Gear fatigue

PUBLISHED: 15:38 24 June 2011 | UPDATED: 14:07 10 October 2012

Towards the end of its landing run on its ninth glider-towing flight of the day, a Morane Saulnier Rallye 180T’s nose wheel leg collapsed...

Towards the end of its landing run on its ninth glider-towing flight of the day, a Morane Saulnier Rallye 180T’s nose wheel leg collapsed at low taxiing speed. The propeller hit the ground and the nose leg folded back under the fuselage.

Engineering examination revealed that fitting at the top end of the nose gear’s oleo had failed, leaving it free to rotate backwards. Both attachment lugs had failed in almost identical positions across their 7mm-thick sections, with each fracture appearing to have a pre-existing crack extending from the bore to depths of 3mm and 1.5mm respectively before final failure occurred due to overload.

The Rallye had flown some 150 hours per year since 1992with a landing rate of about five per hour, for around 11,000 landings.

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