NTSB Identification: ATL89FA106.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 40231.
Accident occurred Thursday, March 16, 1989 in KNOXVILLE, TN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/22/1990
Aircraft: BEECH H35, registration: N5403D
Injuries: 2 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.

IT WAS REPORTED THAT THE PILOT/OWNER AND THE PAX HAD SPENT THE DAY INSTALLING AN AIR-OIL SEPARATOR KIT ON THE AIRPLANE. AFTER THE INSTALLATION BY THE TWO UNCERTIFICATED MECHANICS, THEY DEPARTED THE LOCAL ISLAND AIRPORT SOMETIME AFTER 1500 EDT. AT ABOUT 1605, THE AIRPLANE WAS OBSERVED TO LAND ON THE RIVER SHORT OF THE AIRPORT SURFACE. BOTH OCCUPANTS EXITED THE AIRPLANE AND SWAM TOWARD SHORE. THE PILOT MADE IT TO SHORE BUT HIS PAX WAS HAVING PROBLEMS SO HE SWAM BACK OUT TO HELP. BOTH OCCUPANTS SANK IN THE 48 DEGREE WATER AND THEIR BODIES WERE RECOVERED LATER. AFTER RECOVERY, THE ENGINE WAS DRIED OUT AND A TEST RUN PERFORMED. SOME CONTAMINATION WAS FOUND IN THE PRESSURE CARBURETOR. THE ENGINE HAD A HISTORY OF STOPPING ON THE GROUND.

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

THE PILOT'S CONTINUED OPERATION OF THE AIRPLANE WITH A KNOWN MECHANICAL DEFECT IN THE ENGINE CARBURETOR/FUEL SUPPLY SYSTEM AS EVIDENCED BY THE PAST HISTORY OF ENGINE STOPPAGE DURING GROUND OPERATION. CONTRIBUTING TO THE ACCIDENT WAS THE PILOT'S PERFORMANCE OF UNAUTHORIZED MAINTENANCE ON THE AIRCRAFT AND ITS SYSTEM.

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