Bolt failure caused wheel loss

The Piper Cherokee after landing at Wanaka Airport on two of its three wheels. PHOTO: Mark Price
The Piper Cherokee after landing at Wanaka Airport on two of its three wheels. PHOTO: Mark Price
Bolt failure caused a wheel to fall off a light aircraft after it took off from Twizel in November, a report says.

The Piper Cherokee belonging to Classic Flights Ltd, of Wanaka, landed at Wanaka Airport on two wheels with no injuries to the three people on board.

A report from the Civil Aviation Authority, obtained under the Official Information Act, said the aircraft had just taken off when witnesses saw something fall from the aircraft.

"The pilot was advised of that fact over the radio[and] made a precautionary fly-past that revealed that the right main wheel assembly was missing," the report said.

The pilot elected to fly to Wanaka and emergency services were alerted.

He was briefed over the radio on the best technique for landing, and performed a safe landing on the left main and nose wheel, the report said.

As the aircraft slowed, it settled on to its right wing tip and "slowly departed the runway" on to the grass.

"It was found that the scissor link bolt that holds the wheel assembly in place had failed and allowed it to fall free after take-off.

"The bolt was replaced and repairs made to the aircraft before it was returned to service.

"[It] could not be determined when that bolt had last been manipulated, so further investigation was not conducted."

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