NTSB Identification: SEA97LA182.
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Accident occurred Monday, August 04, 1997 in VANCOUVER, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/04/1998
Aircraft: Cessna 140, registration: N2076N
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.

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

Witnesses reported that they observed the airplane, at an altitude of 300-400 feet, make a steep left turn. The wings were then leveled for an instant before the nose of the airplane dropped and the airplane descended in a near vertical attitude. The left wing of the airplane collided with the top of a commercial building and remained on the roof, as the remainder of the airplane slid down the side of the building in a nose down attitude. Prior to the airplane taking off, the pilot and passenger reported to two mechanics that during an earlier flight the engine had 'detonated' and lost power. The mechanics told the pilot what they thought might be the problem, however, the pilot did not pursue the issue and neither mechanic looked at the engine. Post-accident investigation of the engine found that the number two cylinder exhaust valve appeared tight in the guide and the exhaust valve spring pocket contained excess carbon. The number three piston head showed signs of excess heat. No other evidence of a mechanical failure or malfunction was found.

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

Aircraft control was not maintained. Continued operation with known deficiencies in equipment and movement restrictions to an exhaust valve were factors.

Full narrative available

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