NTSB Identification: LAX96LA152.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, April 02, 1996 in GROVELAND, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/01/1997
Aircraft: POWELL GLASAIR, registration: N59LP
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.
The pilot (part owner of the aircraft) held an A&P certificate & had completed a condition/annual inspection of the aircraft before the flight. The aircraft co-owner stated there was a problem with the throttle cable, & the pilot was going to order a new one, but had not yet done so. Witnesses said the aircraft departed straight out after takeoff. About 4 minutes later, it entered a downwind to the pattern, low & very close to the runway. The witnesses estimated the aircraft's altitude was between 200 and 300 feet agl. At first, some witnesses thought the pilot was going to make a downwind landing on the runway. The witnesses said the aircraft made a tight turn from downwind to base. During the base-to-final turn, the right wing dropped, and the aircraft entered a nose-down descent and crashed. The witnesses heard the engine running before impact, but they described the sound as 'not full power.' An examination of the engine & controls revealed that a clip, which secured the accelerator pump plunger to its actuation shaft in the carburetor, was missing & the pump was inoperative. The throttle cable housing/actuating shaft at the carburetor end was found separated from the cable sheath, exposing the unsupported inside cable. A piece of welding rod was found bent around the housing end & taped to the sheath. The cable was removed from the aircraft & operationally tested. During push-pull tests, the carburetor end would sometimes move an amount corresponding to the cockpit end input; at other times, the carburetor end would move only slightly.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: the pilot's decision to fly the aircraft with a known mechanical discrepancy in the throttle linkage, which resulted in a partial loss of engine power; and his failure to maintain an adequate airspeed while maneuvering for an emergency landing, which resulted in an inadvertent stall/spin. Inadequate maintenance/annual inspection was a related factor. Full narrative available
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