On February 22, 2005, about 1530 eastern standard time, a Howard Aircraft DGA-15, N68431, registered to and operated by a private individual, as a Title 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, ground looped during landing at Spruce Creek Airport, Daytona Beach, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The airline transport-rated pilot and three passengers received no injuries, and the airplane incurred substantial damage. The flight originated from the same airport, earlier that day, about 1445.
The pilot stated that this was going to be the third landing of the day. The landing was made to the southwest runway 23, which is a published 4000 ft long, by 176 ft wide. During the landing, the touchdown was "normal", with a slight skip. On the landing roll the airplane traveled down the runway for about 25 to 30 feet, and he felt the left side drop "slightly", and without warning the airplane veered to the right. He applied full left rudder and left brake several times to compensate for the right veer. The airplane continued to the right, and the right main landing gear went off the side of the runway. The airplanes heading changed 40 degrees to the right, as the airplane's left main landing gear collapsed and went under the fuselage causing the left wing to strike the ground. The left wing and the left underside of the forward fuselage incurred damage as the airplane departed the runway. The airplane came to a stop partially off and perpendicular to the runway.
The FAA inspector who responded to the accident stated that both brake calipers were dry with no evidence of leaking fluid. The right wheel turned freely and the left wheel turned freely when the wheel pant was bent away from the left wheel. Both brake calipers moved freely in the slider pin bushings. The inside of the airplane's left main landing gear strut was inspected; internal rust and deterioration was found in the lower portion of the landing gear strut steel tube where it had broken.
The pilot stated later that an inspection of the left main landing strut revealed a substantial amount of rust inside the lower portion of the left main strut. The drag strut separated at the drain hole of the landing gear strut where it attaches to the left main landing gear oleo, consistent with the drain hole being obstructed for a period of time.