NTSB Identification: ANC00FA081.
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Accident occurred Friday, June 30, 2000 in MARSHALL, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/10/2001
Aircraft: Cessna 337C, registration: N63MR
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.

The pilot was unable to start the aft engine. A witness suggested the pilot delay the flight until a new starter could be obtained. The pilot insisted he could takeoff, and said he had performed single engine takeoffs previously in the airplane. He chose a point on the dry, 1,940 feet long, 90 feet msl, gravel runway where he would abort if the airplane was not airborne. The witness said that as the airplane passed the abort point, the nose wheel was lifting off the ground. The airplane climbed to about 50 feet, the wings rocked slightly, and the airplane passed out of sight behind a low hill and impacted in a lake. The pilot received fatal injuries. There is no published procedure for taking off with either engine inoperative. The landing gear was retracted in-flight, and the gear doors were shut. The rear propeller was not feathered. The emergency procedures for a single-engine failure after takeoff or during climb states, in part: 'Single-engine climb performance with the rear engine operating is better than with the front engine operating by approximately 85 FPM....The landing gear should not be retracted until all immediate obstacles are cleared, regardless of which engine is out....Airplane drag with the landing gear doors opened and the gear partially extended is greater than the drag with the landing gear fully extended. Corresponding rate-of-climb penalties are -240 ft/min and -110 ft/min respectively.' The best rate of climb airspeed is 100 mph. The performance specifications provided in the Cessna 337C Owner's Manual for rate of climb are in part: 'Rate of climb at sea level, 4,000 pounds gross weight, best rate of climb airspeed, landing gear retracted, rear engine feathered, front engine operating only = 425 ft/min.' Postmortem toxicology samples from the pilot revealed the presence of Chlorpheniramine, an over-the-counter medication which causes drowsiness and impairs cognitive and motor tasks.

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

The pilot's attempted takeoff with known deficiencies in equipment (an inoperable rear engine) and an inadvertent stall. Factors associated with the accident were the pilot's improper retraction of the landing gear, his over confidence in the airplane's ability, and his impairment from an over-the-counter cold/allergy drug.

Full narrative available

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