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Chalk’s Turbo Mallard Airliner and premature demise

8 May 2013

Chalk’s Turbo Mallard Airliner and premature demise

25º 47′ 00″ N / 80º 10′ 40″ W

— photo by Joseph May

Chalk’s Ocean Airways Turbo Mallard at the seaplane basin terminal on Watson Island in Miami FL during a fine day in June 2002 (note, luggage stowage is forward of the cockpit) — photo by Joseph May

Frakes Aviation converted the Grumman Mallard type into a Turbo Mallard (G-73T) type, most notably by exchanging the radial Pratt & Whitney Wasp reciprocating engines with Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A turboprop engines. To be sure many other modifications, though outwardly unseen, were also made — the most notable perhaps being a newly designed wing spar which was required to address the greater load.

Chalk’s Ocean Airways, of course, ceased operating these fine aircraft with the all souls lost crash of Flight 101 on 19 December 2005. Delayed and undocumented maintenance were deemed the direct cause of the crash — not design flaws. The aircraft design is sound but airplanes without maintenance can, and do, quit flying unexpectedly as well as catastrophically. Flight 101’s crew were absolved of blame since they did not cause the wing separation nor could they save the aircraft once the starboard wing separated from the aircraft shortly after taking off from the water of Governor’s Cut in Miami, Florida— the NTSB report can be downloaded here and is a 1.5Mb file.

— photo by Joseph May

Chalk’s Ocean Airways departure heading east along Government Cut toward the Atlantic Ocean in Miami FL during June 2002 — photo by Joseph May

A review of the DVD, G-73T Turbo Mallard, about the experience of flying within this aircraft can easily be found using the search feature and the term, Turbo Mallard.

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