NTSB Identification: FTW91FA025.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 44632.
Accident occurred Saturday, December 15, 1990 in OLLA, LA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/30/1992
Aircraft: PIPER PA28-181, registration: N8460Q
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 AIRPLANE SUSTAINED A PARTIAL LOSS OF POWER (MECHANICAL MALFUNCTION) DURING THE INITIAL CLIMB OUT FROM THE AIRPORT AT NIGHT. WITNESSES REPORTED HEARING THE ENGINE SURGING AS IT PASSED OVER OR NEAR THEIR LOCATIONS. THE AIRPLANE WAS FLYING OVER UNSUITABLE TERRAIN TO THE SOUTH AND SOUTHEAST OF THE AIRPORT WHEN THE PILOT WAS FORCED TO LAND. IT COLLIDED WITH SEVERAL TREES AS IT DESCENDED THEN IMPACTED THE TERRAIN. EXAMINATION OF THE CARBURETOR REVEALED THAT ONE SIDE OF THE FLOATS WAS COLLASPED AND THE 'U' ARM WAS DISTORTED WHICH INTERMITTENTLY RESTRICTED THE MOVEMENT OF THE FUEL METERING NEEDLE. THE PILOT WHO RENTED THIS AIRPLANE JUST PRIOR TO THIS PILOT REPORTED A ROUGH RUNNING ENGINE ON TAKEOFF. THE OPERATOR WAS NOTIFIED. NO RECORD OF ANY CORRECTIVE MAINTENANCE ACTION COULD BE LOCATED WHERE THE AIRLANE WAS TAKEN OUT OF SERVICE.

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

THE COLLAPSED CARBURETOR FLOAT AND RESTRICTED MOVEMENT OF THE FUEL METERING NEEDLE. FACTORS WERE THE DARKNIGHT, THE UNSUITABLE TERRAIN, AND THE OPERATOR'S MAINTENANCE PERSONNEL FAILURE TO INSPECT (REPAIR) THE ENGINE.

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