NTSB Identification: CHI95LA120.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Saturday, April 08, 1995 in ST. CLAIR, MO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/10/1998
Aircraft: Piper PA-32-260, registration: N3631W
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

AFTER AN ABORTED TAKEOFF DUE TO POOR ACCELERATION, THE PILOT DROPPED OFF HIS PASSENGERS. ONE PASSENGER, A PILOT, TOLD HIM TO HAVE A MECHANIC LOOK AT THE AIRPLANE BEFORE HE FLEW IT AGAIN. THE PILOT SAID YES AND PROCEEDED TO TAKEOFF. THE DEPLANED PILOT SAID THE AIRPLANE CLIMBED TO ABOUT 15 FEET ABOVE THE RUNWAY, DESCENDED ABOUT 10 FEET, BEGAN A LEFT TURN, AND DRAGGED ITS WINGTIP IN THE DIRT. THE LEFT WING'S FUEL TANK AREA RUPTURED. THE AIRPLANE THEN COLLIDED WITH THE GROUND, SPINNING AROUND AND COMING TO A STOP ENGULFED IN FLAMES. AN EXAMINATION OF THE FLIGHT CONTROL SYSTEM AND PROPELLER REVEALED NO MECHANICAL ANOMALIES. EXAMINATION OF THE ENGINE REVEALED MECHANICAL CONTINUITY THROUGHOUT. HOWEVER, ENGINE CYLINDERS NUMBER 5 AND 6 HAD THEIR RESPECTIVE CAMSHAFT LOBES WORN DOWN SO THAT THEIR VALVES WOULD ONLY OPEN ABOUT 30 PERCENT OF THE MANUFACTURER'S PRESCRIBED DISTANCES. THE FAA'S CIVIL AERO MEDICAL INSTITUTE (CAMI) TOXICOLOGY REPORT SHOWED HIGH LEVELS OF PRESCIPTION NARCOTIC PAINKILLERS IN THE PILOT'S BLOOD AND LIVER FLUIDS. REVIEW OF THE PILOT'S RECORDS FROM CAMI REVEALED A HISTORY OF CORONARY ARTERY DISEASE WITH ANGIOPLASTY PERFORMED 8/10/94, AND A HISTORY OF LOW BACK BACK PAIN FOR WHICH HE WAS PRESCRIBED LARGE AMOUNTS OF NARCOTIC PAINKILLERS. HE HAD NOT BEEN ISSUED A CURRENT MEDICAL CERTIFICATE.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

the pilot's impairment of judgment and performance due to drugs which led to his operating the airplane with a known mechanical deficiency.

Full narrative available

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