NTSB Identification: DEN00LA056.
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Accident occurred Sunday, March 12, 2000 in BELEN, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/30/2003
Aircraft: Piper PA-18-150, registration: N4069Z
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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 received his private pilot's license earlier that morning and was taking his brother for a ride. He said that shortly after he lifted off from an abandoned 800-foot airstrip (elevation unknown, but an airport 7 miles southeast of the accident site is at 5,194 feet msl) but using a short-field takeoff technique (full flaps), the engine began to lose power, dropping about 500 to 700 rpm (revolutions per minute). When he leveled off to maintain airspeed, the engine 'shut down completely.' Because flaps were still extended and airspeed in the flare was low, the airplane 'kept coming down.' A hard landing ensued, shearing off the landing gear and bending the engine mounts and propeller. The mixture control was found in the FULL RICH position. There was a tail wheel strike mark in the dirt 168 feet from the runway threshold. Just beyond were two dirt berms that had been struck by the airplane's main landing gear. The engine was partially disassembled. The no. 2 cylinder compression ratio was 45/80, due to exhaust blow-by.

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

A loss of engine power due to low cylinder compression from an open exhaust valve, and the pilot's failure to lean the fuel mixture.

Full narrative available

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