NTSB Identification: ANC01LA083.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, June 19, 2001 in EEK, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/20/2002
Aircraft: Piper PA-32-300, registration: N43551
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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

The commercial certificated pilot was on a VFR cross-country positioning flight to his home airport. As the airplane was in cruise flight about 500 feet above the ground, the engine surged about three to four times. The pilot activated the electric fuel boost pump, and switched fuel tanks, even though each fuel tank contained adequate fuel. The engine quit, and the pilot selected an emergency landing area in soft, marshy terrain. The airplane received damage to the nose gear, the engine firewall, the left landing gear, the right landing gear, and the right wing. A postaccident examination of the airplane revealed the engine had accrued about 500 hours since an overhaul. Each fuel tank contained fuel. The electric fuel pump produced pressure. Opening of the throttle produced only a momentary increase in fuel pressure. After several attempts, the engine started and ran at an idle. The engine maintenance records indicated the engine driven fuel pump had been replaced twice since the overhaul. Each fuel pump installed on the engine by the operator since the engine overhaul was tested for proper operation. Each produced fuel pressure. The engine fuel servo was removed and tested for proper operation. During fuel flow testing, the fuel servo produced a lean fuel mixture at a mid-range power setting. The servo, bearing the overhaul facilities coil loc lead seal, was disassembled after the flow check. The examination revealed the brass idle plug/main metering valve had part number 2541461 stamped on opposite sides of the vertical surface of the valve. One of the part numbers had been obliterated by a marking tool, and the number 2537665 etched on the valve with a hand marking tool. Part number 2537665 is the correct component for the model of servo. The valve appeared to a hand modified 2541461 which has a different metering jet placement than that of the correct 2537665 valve. The hand modification was produced by several punch tool indentations around the edges of the jet hole on both sides of the valve body. The indentations had hanging burrs protruding into the jet hole.

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

A malfunction of the engine fuel control due to an improper overhaul by other maintenance personnel, and subsequent loss of engine power during cruise flight. A factor in the accident was unsuitable terrain for a forced landing.

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