NTSB Identification: SEA89FA040.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 38735.
Accident occurred Friday, January 27, 1989 in CARSON CITY, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/22/1990
Aircraft: PIPER PA-23-160, registration: N4391P
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.

WHILE ON CROSSWIND LEG AFTER T/O, THE PILOT ANNOUNCED HE HAD LOST AN ENGINE AND WAS RETURNING TO LAND. DURING A LEFT TURN BACK TOWARD THE ARPT, THE ACFT ROLLED INVERTED TO THE LEFT AND DESCENDED IN A NOSE DOWN ATTITUDE UNTIL IMPACT. EXAM REVEALED AN EXTRA NEEDLE VALVE LOOSE IN THE LEFT ENG CARBURETOR FLOAT BOWL. ANOTHER NEEDLE VALVE AND SEAT ASSEMBLY WAS CORRECTLY INSTALLED IN THE CARBURETOR. NUMEROUS SMOOTH BRIGHT SPOTS OF WEAR WERE FOUND ON THE BOTTOM SURFACE OF THE GRAINY TEXTURED INTERIOR OF THE FLOAT BOWL. THE AREA AROUND THE FUEL MIXTURE METERING ASSEMBLY PORT WAS POLISHED AND THE NEEDLE VALVE COULD BE INSERTED IN THE PORT. MAINTENANCE RECORDS REVEALED NEW ENGINES HAD BEEN INSTALLED ON 10/30/79. ALTHOUGH RECORDS AND WITNESSES INDICATED POWER PROBLEMS WITH THE LEFT ENGINE, NO RECORDS INDICATED THE CARBURETOR FLOAT BOWL HAD EVER BEEN REMOVED AFTER THE ENGINE HAD INITIALLY BEEN INSTALLED ON THE AIRCRAFT.

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

LOSS OF POWER ON THE LEFT ENGINE DUE TO A FOREIGN OBJECT WHICH OBSTRUCTED THE FUEL FLOW, AND THE PILOT'S FAILURE TO MAINTAIN AIRSPEED ABOVE VMC DURING HIS ATTEMPTED RETURN TO THE AIRFIELD. CONTRIBUTING TO THE ACCIDENT WAS THE LACK OF RECENT FLIGHT TIME BY THE PILOT.

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