NTSB Identification: ANC96FA078.
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Scheduled 14 CFR
Accident occurred Friday, May 24, 1996 in POINT HOPE, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/08/1997
Aircraft: Piper PA-31-350, registration: N4109E
Injuries: 2 Serious,2 Minor,2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The scheduled air taxi flight was to depart Point Hope, Alaska, with a destination of Wainwright, Alaska. While the airplane was on the ground at Point Hope, the station agent loaded the nose baggage compartment and closed the nose baggage door. The pilot visually checked the nose baggage door while standing on the wing next to the cockpit door. During the takeoff, at rotation, the nose baggage door came fully open. Baggage and boxes exited the nose baggage compartment and fell through the left engine's propeller. The pilot elected to land on sea ice. Just prior to touching down, the airplane started a slow, uncontrolled roll to the left. The passenger reported that when baggage exited the baggage compartment, a duffel bag hit the propeller; he described the propeller as being destroyed by the encounter. According to the pilot, the company training program included instructions concerning baggage door operation. The pilot was under the impression from informal discussions that the PA-31 airplane would not fly with the nose baggage door in the open position. The company training program did not discuss operations with an open nose baggage door.

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

The pilot's inadequate preflight to ensure the nose baggage door was properly latched, and the subsequent opening of the baggage compartment door, which allowed items to collide with the left propeller, resulting in propeller damage and loss of thrust from the left engine.

Full narrative available

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