NTSB Identification: ATL90LA161.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 43807.
Accident occurred Friday, August 24, 1990 in PALMETTO, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/14/1992
Aircraft: CESSNA 172, registration: N6173E
Injuries: 1 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

SHORTLY AFTER TAKEOFF AND WHILE ESTABLISHED ON DOWNWIND, THE PILOT REPORTED THAT HIS ENGINE BEGAN TO RUN ROUGHLY. UNABLE TO MAINTAIN ALTITUDE, HE LANDED THE AIRPLANE ON THE AIRPORT PROPERTY. AN INSPECTION OF THE ENGINE AFTER THE ACCIDENT REVEALED THAT THE LEFT MAGNETO WAS INCORRECTLY TIMED. ALSO, BOTH MAGNETOS WERE OBSERVED BREAKING DOWN DURING THE TEST RUN. THE PILOT (ALSO THE MECHANIC OF THIS AIRPLANE) REPORTED THAT THE MAG DROP ON THE LEFT MAGNETO WAS 500 RPM PRIOR TO TAKEOFF. HE ELECTED TO FLY THE AIRPLANE AS A 'TEST HOP' TO TROUBLESHOOT THE PROBLEM. WHEN A WITNESS SECURED THE AIRPLANE FOLLOWING THE ACCIDENT, HE NOTED THAT THE MAGNETO SWITCH WAS LOOSE AND FELL OUT OF THE INSTRUMENT PANEL WHEN HE TRIED TO TURN THE KEY. THE PILOT HAD NOT ACCOMPLISHED A BIENNIAL FLIGHT REVIEW IN OVER FIVE YEARS.

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

THE PILOT'S OPERATION OF THE AIRPLANE WITH KNOWN MECHANICAL DEFICIENCIES. A FACTOR IN THE ACCIDENT WAS THE IMPROPERLY MAINTAINED CONDITION OF THE MAGNETOS.

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