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4th of February2007, Maintenance Error, Blog #637

A 1968-built McDonnell Douglas DC-8-71F was operating a cargo flight (charter) from Rionegro/Medellin-José Maria Córdova Airport (Colombia) to Miami International Airport (Florida, USA).

The aircraft sometime before the accident (Source: baaa-acro.com © Eddie)

Onboard the aircraft a crew of three, flying a plane load of cut flowers for Valentine's Day. The flight, on an IFR flight plan, and approach to Miami's Runway 9 were uneventful. The aircraft was configured according to the valid procedures, flew a stabilised approach and touched just before 23.00 lt (local time) at approximately 144 knots, with a vertical acceleration of 1.837 g. The landing weight was 241.000 pounds, well below the maximum landing weight of 258.000 pounds. Fuel remaining was in the order of 19.000 pounds. Thrust reverse was selected after the touchdown and the aircraft started to decelerate. at a speed of about 110 knots, the aircraft started to veer to the right and als a right roll developed of ~5º.

Initially thinking it was a crosswind, the crew quickly realised the right-hand main landing gear had collapsed. The emergency shut-down checks were completed after the aircraft stopped, and the crew evacuated the aircraft via the slide on the forward door. There were no injuries.

The DC8 main landing gear, for reference

(Source V2 Aviation archive © McDonnell Douglas)

The National Transportation Safety Board was alerted and an investigation was launched. The aircraft was damaged and it was found that there was minor damage around the right main landing gear. Specifically, the downlock link and trapezoid fitting were found cracked, while the gear actuator rod had a 90-degree bend. The wing was not damaged, the aircraft was resting on the cowlings of the # and #4 engines. A detailed inspection of the landing gear revealed that the outboard torque tube attach bolt had backed out from the piston prior to the incident. The attach bolt should have been torqued at 475 ft-lbs during its installation. Analysis at the NTSB Metallurgical Laboratory. revealed that the damaged parts exhibited signatures consistent with that of overstress separations. No preexisting cracking or corrosion was noted during the optics examination.

The DC8 main landing gear, for reference (Source V2 Aviation archive © McDonnell Douglas)

The landing gear had been installed 11 cycles prior to the accident. The installation of the landing gear was spread over several shifts. During the handover from one shift to another, not all information was correctly and completely transferred from one shift to another.


The NTSB concluded that the probable cause of the gear failure was the improper torque of a landing gear lockbolt by company maintenance personnel during landing gear installation. ** Editorial note **


V2 Aviation - Training & Maintenance has not been able to obtain an investigation report on this accident. This blog is therefore based on several internet sources. Should there be an inconsistency in the blog don't hesitate to get in touch with us. There are two possibilities to do that, via the comments function at the bottom of this page or via the contact page of the website.

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