This March 2008 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.
Aircraft: Diamond DA-20. Injuries: None. Location: Spanish Fork, Utah. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: During the initial climb after takeoff, the pilot heard a loud bang originating from the rear of the airplane, so he decided to circle the airport and land. As the nose of the airplane settled during the landing roll, the nose wheel strut folded aft into the fuselage, resulting in structural damage to the airframe.
Examination of the airplane revealed that the nose wheel fork assembly and tire had separated from the nose wheel strut during takeoff. The nose wheel fork assembly attachment stud/bolt revealed fracture features consistent with fatigue and overload. Evidence of oxidation and/or corrosion was also present on the fracture surface.
Probable cause: The fatigue failure of the nose wheel fork assembly attachment stud/bolt during takeoff initial climb, and the collapse of the nose gear during landing.
For more information: NTSB.gov