NTSB Identification: FTW00LA205.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, July 12, 2000 in RIO GRANDE CITY, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/10/2001
Aircraft: Piper PA-23-160, registration: N4322P
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

During a cross-country flight, on the day prior to the accident, the airplane experienced a total electrical failure. The pilot made a precautionary landing at an airport, where he had the battery charged. However, the electrical problem was not repaired prior to departing on the day of the accident. After lift-off from the runway, the landing gear was retracted, and the pilot began a left turn. While in the turn, about 300-400 feet agl, the left engine lost power. Subsequently, the right engine lost power. The pilot executed a forced landing to a field with brush and mesquite trees. The airplane had been inspected 6 days before the accident by an FAA inspector, who issued an Aircraft Condition Notice for maintenance defects, which were considered to be an imminent hazard to safety. A special flight permit was required prior to operating the aircraft if corrective action had not been taken. An examination of the airplane revealed that the maintenance defects were not corrected, and a special flight permit had not been obtained. The reason for the loss of engine power could not be determined.

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

the loss of engine power for undetermined reasons. Contributing factors were the pilot flying the airplane with known deficiencies, and the lack of suitable terrain for the forced landing.

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