NTSB Identification: ATL96LA045.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, February 07, 1996 in BLOUNTVILLE, TN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/11/1996
Aircraft: PIPER PA-32-RT-300, registration: N2200J
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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

The night instrument instruction flight was cruising at 9,000 feet, VFR on top, when the left half of the top engine cowling ripped off and lodged on the horizontal stabilizer. The airplane was difficult to control, and would not maintain level flight. The instructor and the student diverted to a nearby airport and landed uneventfully. An FAA inspector examined the airplane and stated that the left cowl pin was missing, but it did not fail, having been torn away along with the surrounding cowling material. The manager of the shop where the airplane was repaired stated that he had previously observed worn side latches and pin grommets that allowed the upper cowl pin to slide out of the lower pin hole, which would allow air flow to rip off the upper cowling. There were no FAA malfunction/defect reports of a similar failure, and the manufacturer did not have records of any previous failure.

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

Inadequate maintenance, and subsequent in-flight separation of the cowling, due to worn cowling components.

Full narrative available

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