NTSB Identification: MIA97FA040.
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Accident occurred Monday, December 16, 1996 in BIRMINGHAM, AL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/29/1997
Aircraft: Piper PA-34-200T, registration: N872SD
Injuries: 3 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.
When queried after takeoff, the pilot informed ATC that the left engine was not developing full power, and that he was having difficulty in maintaining altitude. The pilot was attempting to return to the departure airport when the airplane collided with trees and a chimney, then it crashed in a residential area. Examination of the left and right engine did not reveal any condition that would have caused an operational problem. Neither propeller was in the feather position. Two work orders had been signed off on the day of the accident; one indicated that the airplane was in an airworthy; the other (with a later invoice number) indicated that the airplane was not in an airworthy condition. A review of pilot log sheets showed that the pilot had prevously flown the Piper PA-34 between 1/13/86 and 10/6/91; since that period, he had only flown it once, which was on the day before the accident. Reportedly, during that flight, he had flown the airplane for one hour, but did not practice emergency procedures.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: failure of the pilot to follow emergency procedures and feather the malfunctioning engine, which led to a forced landing and subsequent collision with a chimney (residence) and the terrain. His lack of recent experience in make/model of aircraft was a related factor. Full narrative available
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