NTSB Identification: LAX01FA302.
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Accident occurred Sunday, September 09, 2001 in Chico, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/30/2004
Aircraft: Piper PA-23-150, registration: N2268P
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.

Witnesses observed the airplane climb a maximum of 200 feet above the runway during its initial climb, and then it descended in a right wing low attitude until impacting the level ground short of the airport's perimeter fence. A fire erupted and consumed the airplane. Before the pilot succumbed to his injuries he reported to the responding medical personnel that "my engine failed and I was trying to turn around." The subsequent airframe examination revealed that the wings were fire damaged in areas corresponding to both the inboard and the outboard fuel tanks, and the fuel selectors were on the main tank positions. The landing gear was extended, and the rudder trim tab was set to a position consistent with a right engine power failure. No evidence of any internal engine mechanical malfunction was observed. The left propeller blades were torsionally twisted and gouged; the right blades sustained only minor damage. The pilot was an airframe and powerplant mechanic, had performed the maintenance on his airplane, and was its only pilot. He last flew the airplane about 3.5 months prior to the accident, and this was the first flight following maintenance. No logbook records were found that identified the maintenance performed. The cause of the right engine's nonmechanical loss of power was not determined. Given the prevailing meteorological conditions and the airplane's weight, performance data indicates that the airplane should have had a positive climb rate upon feathering the right engine's propeller blades and retraction of the landing gear.

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

The loss of right engine power for undetermined reasons, and the pilot's failure to maintain control of the aircraft due to his improper single engine emergency procedures.

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