Date registered: Apr 2004
Vehicle: 190e 300E ML320
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McLaren @German GP: Kimi
OUCH!!! That shall be a fun one to investigate. Composites requires a little more in Depth investigation than metals. In the areospace industry it can be a challenge to pin-point failures sometimes. My analogy of the matrix failure and identifying the exact point of initial resin to fiber separation sometimes is like taking a LEGO toy and smashing it against the wall, then determine which actual block was the first one to separate.
Inspections of composites has changed dramatically over the course of the last 20 years. New methods,
technology, and NDT grows each day. Commonly we use x-ray and accoustics to identify flaws during routine inspection. It is far easier to identify a flaw prior to catastrophic failure. I would not be surpised that McLaren's inspect/ re-inspection criteria changes some due to this event.
With this event I am interested in the attach points of that airfoil. What type of material (suspect titanium), and what the over-all condition of the block and fasteners. I do not know the make up of the airfoil(maybe hybrid of kevlar and Carbon if not sole carbon) on ply orientation or core material(if any,honeycomb is going away on many new aircraft and is now hollow).Unless you work for McLaren and are even giving permission to tell us, no one will really know.
There could have been a void from numerous situations that was not detected upon fabrication(as simple as a faulty electrode can mess up your day).
Anyone finds more on this particular event, keep us in the loop, I am interested in the findings.Hope they capture it and prevent it from happening again.