The failure of an ATAR engine accessory angle drive gear assembly caused an engine flame-out in a Mirage III aircraft of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) during a landing. Stripping of the engine revealed that the bevel gear locating splines (16 NCD 13) had failed. Visual and low-power microscope examination of the spline of the shaft showed evidence of fretting wear debris; similar wear was observed on the splines of the mating bevel gear. It was concluded that the splines had failed by severe fretting wear. Fretting damage was also observed on the shaft face adjacent to the splines and on the bevel gear abutment shoulder. Additional tests included a metrological inspection of the shaft, bevel gear and support ring; metallographic examination of a section from the shaft; chemical analysis of the shaft material (16 NCD 13); and hardness testing of a sample of the yoke material. The wear had been caused by incorrect machining of the shaft splines, which prevented the bevel gear nut from locating correctly against the gear.
The 4340 steel main rotor yoke of a helicopter failed during a hovering exercise. Visual examination of the yoke revealed no evidence of gross external damage. Visual fracture surface examination, macrofractography, scanning electron micrography, and metallography of a section cut from the yoke in the region of the cracking indicated that the failure was caused by fatigue-crack initiation and growth from severe corrosion damage to a pillow-block bolt hole. Corrosion occurred because of failure of the protection scheme. An upgraded corrosion protection scheme for the bolt holes was recommended, along with nondestructive inspection of the region at intervals determined by fractographic analysis of the fatigue crack growth.