NTSB Identification: FTW97LA180.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, May 06, 1997 in LAS CRUCES, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/02/1998
Aircraft: Cessna 172N, registration: N733WJ
Injuries: 3 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.

The pilot reported that while in cruise flight the engine RPM decreased to 2,100. He pulled the throttle out and the RPM decreased to 1,900 RPM. He then applied full throttle and the RPM only increased to 2,000. A forced landing was performed to a young pecan orchard. Examination of the aircraft's fuel system revealed that the right fuel tank had approximately 20 gallons of fuel, and the left fuel tank was empty. Further examination of the aircraft's throttle assembly revealed that the throttle arm castellated nut was loose, and the cotter pin was missing allowing the throttle arm to move without actuating the throttle shaft. A review of the maintenance records revealed the throttle shaft was replaced 6.2 hours earlier during an annual inspection. The person who performed the throttle shaft replacement reported that the airplane left his facility with the cotter pin installed.

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

The improper installation of the throttle arm castellated nut, which resulted in a partial loss of power. A factor was the lack of suitable terrain for the forced landing.

Full narrative available

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