Chalk’s Ocean Airways, also known as Flying Boat, and troubled insurance giant AIG are suing Northrop Grumman and Frakes Aviation in the wake of the fatal crash of a Chalk’s Grumman G-73 Mallard on Dec. 19, 2005.
The Mallard’s right wing separated from the airframe shortly after takeoff and the amphibious turboprop twin crashed into the water near the Miami Seaplane Base, killing all 18 passengers and two pilots.
Chalk’s and AIG allege that Grumman, manufacturer of the Mallard, didn’t provide adequate maintenance and inspection protocols for the center wing box and the wing-to-fuselage attachment structure. Frakes Aviation is accused of improperly modifying the Mallard, not demonstrating how to inspect and maintain it after the modifications, which included a turboprop engine conversion, and not noticing design defects in the airframe.
AIG said it has paid $50 million to the families of the pilots and passengers.
The NTSB determined that the probable cause of the crash was “the failure of the Chalk’s Ocean Airways maintenance program to identify and properly repair fatigue cracks in the right wing and the failure of the FAA to detect and correct deficiencies in the company’s maintenance program.” AIG is not suing the FAA, however.