The preliminary factual report by the UAE's General Civil Aviation Authority into a Grumman G-21 Goose amphibian accident on 27 February has found that the aircraft crashed out of control shortly after rotate from Runway 19 at Al Ain airport, United Arab Emirates. All four occupants were killed and the aircraft was destroyed by fire.
The amphibian (N221AG), originally built in 1944, was a McKinnon-modified G-21G powered by two Garrett Airesearch TPE331 turboprop engines. The crew was given clearance to perform "one circuit with a low approach then onwards clearance to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia", according to the report.
After some 8min of taxiing, the aircraft lined up on the threshold of Runway 19, where it waited for 90s for clearance, then began to accelerate normally. The report says: "Witnesses reported that shortly after lift-off, and during initial climb, the aircraft veered to the left and kept airborne until it impacted nose down and with left roll attitude," then continued 32m (105ft) before coming to a complete stop. Photographs show that the main aircraft components, while ravaged by fire, were substantially in place. There were no significant parts found separately.
The amphibian had been kept in a hangar at Al Ain since 24 August when it arrived there, and the hangar owner reported that the only maintenance activity he had noted since was just before the fatal flight.
At that time, the investigators report, there were "activities pertinent to installation of an extra fuel tank with no exact information of whether the tank was fixed at its place on board the aircraft, connected to the fuel system or refuelled".
The report contains no weight and balance record for the flight. The aircraft was not fitted with flight data or cockpit voice recorders.
In December 2005 a 1947-built Chalks Ocean Airways Grumman Turbo Mallard crashed fatally shortly after take-off from Miami Beach when its wing-spar suffered fatigue failure. The US National Transportation Safety Board blamed poor maintenance.
Source: Flight International