Accident Armstrong Whitworth AW-650 Argosy 222 VH-IPA,
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Date:Wednesday 3 May 1989
Time:02:35
Type:Silhouette image of generic aw65 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Armstrong Whitworth AW-650 Argosy 222
Owner/operator:IPEC - Interstate Parcel Express Company
Registration: VH-IPA
MSN: 6803
Year of manufacture:1965
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Aircraft damage: Substantial, repaired
Category:Accident
Location:Melbourne-Tullamarine Airport, VIC (MEL) -   Australia
Phase: Taxi
Nature:Cargo
Departure airport:Sydney-Kingsford Smith International Airport, NSW (SYD/YSSY)
Destination airport:Melbourne-Tullamarine Airport, VIC (MEL/YMML)
Investigating agency: BASI
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Narrative:
While taxiing after a normal landing, a rumbling noise was heard from the vicinity of the nosegear, the hydraulic low pressure light illuminated and nosegear steering authority was lost. The right hand nosewheel had separated from the aircraft due to fracturing of the axle. As the nosewheel departed it damaged the nosegear uplock assembly with consequent loss of hydraulic system integrity. It then continued under the fuselage causing skin damage.
The nosewheel axle was recovered and subjected to metallurgical examination which showed that the fracture was due to fatigue. The fracture resulted from prior long term fatigue cracking which occupied approximately 75 of the cross sectional area of the axle. Stress corrosion cracks were present which were the most likely initiator of the fatigue cracks. A mandatory crack inspection requirement called up for this axle did not cover the specific area in which the stress corrosion was located. Consequently, during the axle refurbishment, the stress corrosion cracks were covered by a layer of electroplated chromium.

Significant Factors:
1. The nosewheel axle failed due to fatigue initiated by stress corrosion cracks.
2. The recurrent Non Destructive Inspection for the axles does not address the area where the stress corrosion occured. Consequently, pre- and post- refurbishment inspections did not detect the cracks.

Accident investigation:
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Investigating agency: BASI
Report number: 198901542
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 9 months
Download report: Final report

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