East Hampton Plane Crash Preliminary Report: Nut on Wing Bolt Missing

Several aspects of the Oct. 6 private plane crash that killed a local pilot when a wing fell off shortly after taking off in East Hampton may suggest possible causes, including a missing nut, experts said. in aviation accidents.

This nut should have helped secure the bolt securing the right wing – the one that broke off – to the right strut, which supports the wing.

In a recent preliminary report, the National Transportation Safety Board revealed that the nut was missing, although the bolt threads were intact.

According to the experts, the threads in good condition show that the nut was not torn off in flight.

Noting that the NTSB has yet to release its “probable cause” finding, Michael F. Canders, director of the Farmingdale State College Aviation Center, said, “When a piece of hardware like this is missing, it can, over time, create vibration or other stress on the kite which could have a disastrous result.

J. Michael Davis, associate professor of aeronautical engineering technology at Purdue University, added, “Who knows if it’s ever been tightened properly; he could have simply fallen.

Although the impact of the crash “separated” the left wing strut from the wing, its bolt “remained securely attached with the nut,” the report said.

“The missing nut at the strut attachment point is an important finding and while the full explanation is still being investigated, it will be an important focus for the National Transportation Safety Board,” said Shawn Pruchnicki, professor at the College of Engineering at The Ohio State University. Aeronautical engineering and integrated systems.

The NTSB Materials Lab is examining the right and left wing “strut assemblies,” the report said.

The right wing, according to the NTSB, landed in a tree 770 feet from the remains of the Seamax M-22 amphibious plane, which fell into shallow water at Three Mile Harbor, north of the city.

Among other unusual features of this crash, experts pointed to the newness of this fixed-wing two-seater – its first Federal Aviation Administration certificate was not issued until April 15 – and the exceptional rarity for aircraft to lose wings, a problem much more likely to occur during severe thunderstorms or if a pilot attempts a stunt that the plane cannot handle.

Additionally, experts pointed to the pre-flight check as another unusual circumstance.

The pilot, Kent Feuerring, 57, of Sagaponack, who was president of the East Hampton Aviation Association, was the sole occupant of the plane on the day it crashed. He arrived at the city’s airport at 11:59 a.m. and “extricated the plane from the hangar at 12:06 p.m.,” the NTSB said, citing surveillance video.

“Between 12:06 p.m. and 12:08 p.m., the pilot performed a pre-flight inspection, entered the aircraft, closed the canopy and started the engine at 12:09 p.m.

Purdue’s Davis said: “Two minutes – that’s not really a pre-flight check.”

Even with new planes, Davis, who is a pilot himself, said he found the elevators, which control a plane’s pitch, lacked essential hardware.

“It is possible to miss things upstream; it has to go back to the importance for the captain to do a preflight,” Canders said.

The Seamax lifted off at 12:19 p.m., said the NTSB, which won’t release what is expected to be its final report for two years or more.

A witness, hearing the plane overhead, then “heard a loud ‘crack’, saw a wing separate from the plane, and the plane took off into the water,” said the NTSB.

As Canders put it, “wing starts are obviously abysmal most of the time unless the pilot is very lucky and maybe close enough to the ground to recover.”