NTSB Identification: ATL97LA074.
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Accident occurred Thursday, May 22, 1997 in SOPHIA, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/30/1998
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-151, registration: N8392C
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

While flying at 3000 feet, the pilot noted a drop in engine RPM from 2200 to approximately 700. Since level flight could not be maintained, the pilot selected a nearby private airstrip and attempted an emergency landing. The airplane bounced as it touched down on the sod runway, and the pilot noticed an increase in engine rpm. He realized that he could not get the airplane down before the end of the runway; he then elected to attempt a go-around. The airplane climbed to the height of trees on the departure end of the runway and settled into the trees. Examination of the airplane disclosed that electrical tape was lodged in the carburetor induction system. The examination also disclosed that someone had wrapped black electrical tape around the flexible duct material between the induction air filter and the carburetor. A review of approved aircraft maintenance procedures failed to disclose a repair procedure that would allow the use of electrical tape to repair the air duct. A review of normal aircraft performance data disclosed that approximately 600 feet of ground roll was needed for a landing; approximately 1,200 feet of runway was needed to land over a 50 foot obstacle. The pilot reported that the sod runway was 2,070 feet long.

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

improper maintenance performed by an unknown person, which resulted in the reduction of airflow through the engine induction system and subsequent loss of engine power. A factor related to the accident was: failure of the pilot to attain a proper touchdown point on the runway for a successful forced landing.

Full narrative available

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