NTSB Identification: ATL97LA012.
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Accident occurred Thursday, October 31, 1996 in DORADO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/30/1997
Aircraft: Douglas C-47, registration: N37AP
Injuries: 2 Serious,1 Minor.

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 takeoff from runway 9, a climbing left turn was made. At about 1,000 feet, the #2 (right) engine backfired, emitted flames, & lost power. The captain instructed the copilot to feather the #2 propeller, which the copilot initiated with the feathering button. When the captain requested gear & flap extension, the copilot released the feathering button which did not remain engaged, contrary to system design. The airplane had arrived on a left downwind abeam the landing area at 500 feet & 95 to 100 kts. The captain turned toward the runway, then he ordered the gear & flaps to be retracted & initiated a go-around by increasing the left throttle without increasing propeller speed. A right turn was then made, & the airplane eventually crashed about 3 miles from the runway. During a postaccident examination, the propellers were found unfeathered, & the right engine fuel selector was in the main tank position. The emergency procedure listed the best single engine speed as 85 kts. The procedure for engine fire/failure was to feather the propeller & to move the respective fuel selector to 'OFF.' Examination revealed the number 11 cylinder on the right engine was cracked. There was evidence of fire, adjacent to the cylinder on the cowling, which consisted of scorching, sooting, & a burned through area of the underside of the right engine cowling. The copilot indicated a previous problem with the feathering system, but maintenance records did not contain any previous discrepancies regarding this anomaly.

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

failure of the #11 cylinder on the right (#2) engine, which resulted in an in-flight fire and loss of power in that engine; and a malfunction/failure of the #2 feathering system, which led to a subsequent forced landing before the flight crew could return to the airport. A factor related to the accident was failure of the flight crew to increase the left (#1) engine rpm (in accordance with emergency procedures) after loss of power in the #2 engine.

Full narrative available

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