NTSB Identification: CHI98LA054.
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Accident occurred Thursday, December 04, 1997 in LEE'S SUMMIT, MO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/26/1998
Aircraft: Piper PA-34-200T, registration: N8189P
Injuries: 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.

The pilot reported taking off during gusty wind conditions on a dark night. He said that shortly after liftoff, the airplane '...veered sharply to the left... .' The pilot said he applied full right rudder and aileron to maintain a '...somewhat level...' attitude. He said the airplane flew through the tops of trees before it collided with the ground, while he was maneuvering to return to the airport. The investigation revealed that the left engine's propeller was not feathered, and the landing gear was in the DOWN position. No mechanical anomalies were found with the engine or airframe that would have prevented flight. The left engine magneto switches were found in the OFF position. The landing light switches were ON. The magneto switch guard cover's self-erecting springs were broken allowing the guard cover to cover the landing light switches instead of the magneto switches.

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

the pilot's inadequate remedial action concerning the loss of engine power, after inadvertently switching off the magnetos. Factors relating to the accident were: the broken springs for magneto cover guard; excessive drag from the extended landing gear and unfeathered propeller; and failure of the pilot to maintain runway alignment after loss of engine power; all of which subsequenlty led to a failure (or inability) to remain clear of obstructions (trees).

Full narrative available

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