NTSB Identification: MIA96FA229.
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Accident occurred Monday, September 09, 1996 in LAKELAND, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/30/1997
Aircraft: Aero Commander 680E, registration: N262X
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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.

After takeoff, the pilot transmitted to ATC controllers that he had lost power in an engine. He made a steep turn to the left back toward the airport, then a right turn toward the runway. The aircraft's nose dropped in the right turn, and the aircraft crashed nose first on a taxiway. Postcrash examination of the aircraft structure and flight control systems revealed no preimpact failure or malfunction. The left propeller was found in the feathered position, and the right propeller was found in a high blade angle. The right propeller had damage consistent with the engine operating. Teardown examination of the engines and propellers showed no findings that would have resulted in engine or propeller malfunction or failure. At the time the aircraft was purchased by the pilot in March 1996, he had not flown for about 10 years. Since purchasing the aircraft, he had logged 2.5 hours of transition/checkout in the airplane and had flown it for a total of about 22 hours, mostly on 'sight seeing flights.'

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

failure of the pilot to maintain minimum control speed, while returning to the airport for a precautionary landing, following a reported loss of power in one engine, which resulted in a loss of aircraft control and an uncontrolled collision with the terrain. Factors relating to the accident were: loss of power in the left engine for undetermined reason(s), and the pilot's apparent lack of familiarity with single engine operation in the make and model of aircraft.

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