NTSB Identification: LAX97FA272.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, August 05, 1997 in HESPERIA, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/04/1998
Aircraft: Piper PA-28RT-201, registration: N8227Q
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.

Following a go-around in high density altitude conditions, the airplane was observed to enter a shallow climb. It then turned approximately 20 degrees to the right and followed a wide depression in the surrounding terrain without any noticeable gain in altitude. While following this depression, three packages (luggage) were observed being thrown from the right side of the aircraft. After the third package was thrown, the aircraft flew into high voltage power lines, which ran perpendicular to the depression at an altitude of approximately 75 to 100 feet agl. The aircraft then impacted the ground and was destroyed by fire. There were no orange balls or other visually alerting devices attached to the power lines, as the power lines were not in a location normally used by low flying aircraft. A teardown inspection of the engine did not disclose any mechanical malfunction or abnormal wear; however, the exhaust muffler for the No. 2 and No. 4 cylinders had a partially collapsed internal baffle. Density altitude was about 7,200 feet. Aircraft performance charts indicated that at that altitude, the engine would have been developing only 72 percent of its rated power.

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

failure of the pilot to see-and-avoid high voltage power lines, while coping with a lack of engine power during a go-around in a high density altitude condition. Factors relating to the accident were: high density altitude that resulted in a normal reduction of engine power; partial obstruction in the exhaust system that resulted in an additional loss of power; and the encounter with power lines.

Full narrative available

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