NTSB Identification: MIA98FA010.
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Accident occurred Saturday, October 11, 1997 in KNOXVILLE, TN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/30/1998
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-180, registration: N15331
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.
The airplane and its occupants had arrived earlier in the day to attend a football game. According to airport personnel, the three occupants arrived back at the airport, after the game, about 2030, and after the control tower had closed. The control tower was staffed 2 hours before and after the football game. The pilot had line service personnel put 24 gallons of fuel in the airplane, and according to the line service manager, this 'filled the tanks.' The airplane was seen by several witnesses climbing in a westerly direction, about 200 feet above the ground (AGL), in a nose-high attitude with the lights on. There were indications that the airplane may have stalled. Witnesses said the wings were rocking, then the airplane turned left, went into a nose-low attitude, and impacted the water. Several witnesses said the airplane's engine was 'revving' and sounded 'loud,' before impacting the water. One witness said the engine sounded like it was at 'full power.' Examination of the airframe and engine did not reveal any preimpact discrepancies. A postmortem examination of the pilot indicated that he died as a result of 'multiple blunt force injuries,' but that he had severe coronary artery disease, including 'occlusion of left main coronary artery,' '70% stenosis' of his left anterior descending artery, and '90% stenosis' of his left circumflex artery.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: failure of the pilot to maintain control of the airplane, while climbing after takeoff, which resulted in an uncontrolled descent and impact with the water. Full narrative available
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