Date & Time: Jul 17, 1991 at 0930 LT
Type of aircraft:
Piper PA-31-310 Navajo
Lydd - Blackpool
Crew on board:
Pax on board:
Captain / Total hours on type:
The aircraft, which had not flown for over 2 years, had been worked-on during the past days and had to be ferried to Blackpool with two pilots on board. During the takeoff roll on runway 22, at a speed of about 60 knots, a loud report was heard and the outboard section of the right wing disintegrated. The crew abandoned the takeoff procedure and was able to stop the aircraft on the runway. They exited the cabin and were uninjured while the aircraft was damaged beyond repair.
The exact cause of the double explosion in the right wing could not be determined with certainty. A possibility was that the non-wetted areas of the tanks had become slightly porous during the time that the aircraft had not been in use and consequently may have allowed small leakages of fuel through the porous areas when the tanks had been filled to capacity. The resultant vapour could then have migrated outboard around the edges of the ribs at the end of the tank bay.