NTSB Identification: IAD98FA015.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, December 10, 1997 in ROANOKE, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/10/2000
Aircraft: Socata TB-20 TRINIDAD, registration: N3041J
Injuries: 1 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.

Shortly after takeoff, the pilot reported that the engine was losing power and that he was returning to the airport. The controller advised the pilot that he was 1 3/4 miles south of the airport, and he should make a left turn and return for a landing on runway 33. There were no further radio transmissions from the pilot. The airplane struck power lines about 25 feet high, struck a house, and then came to rest on the porch of another house. The second house and airplane were destroyed as a result of the collision and a post-impact fire. A witness, about 1 1/4 miles from runway 33, said he heard an airplane taking off. He said, '... the engine noise was both loud and different, I looked toward the airport, but the plane was already into the overcast-600 foot ceiling. The engine noise was unique, it had a loud beat, like one cylinder was firing directly out the exhaust...when the plane had passed me, from my right to left about the 10 o'clock position the engine skipped one beat, made a louder bang and went silent... .' Examination of the engine did not disclose any evidence of mechanical malfunction that would have precluded operation.

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

Loss of engine power for undetermined reasons. A related factor was the low ceiling.

Full narrative available

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