NTSB Identification: SEA01FA175.
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Accident occurred Saturday, September 29, 2001 in McCall, ID
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/01/2003
Aircraft: Piper PA-30, registration: N954S
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.

After the pilot made a normal-sounding base turn call for runway 34 on the airport's common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF), the airplane was observed by witnesses to experience a nose drop and crash into a cattle pasture about 3/4 mile short of the runway. On-site examination disclosed wreckage and impact signatures consistent with an uncontrolled, right wing low, relatively low-speed impact, as well as physical and instrument evidence of a left engine power loss. However, the aircraft's left propeller was not feathered, and gear and flaps were found to be fully extended at the time of impact. The reason for the left engine power loss was not determined; however, the following findings potentially related to left engine performance were noted: both engines were approximately 300 hours past the manufacturer's recommended time between overhauls (TBO), evidence of improper idle mixture and idle stop adjustments to the left engine by maintenance personnel was discovered during post-accident fuel system component testing (a work order, dated the day before the accident but without any corresponding aircraft or engine logbook entries, further indicated that "MIXTURE IDLE CUTOFF" and "FUEL PRESSURE" had been adjusted on both engines), and the left side fuel selector was found in the AUX position (the aircraft owner's handbook specifies the MAIN position for descent and landing.) Post-accident testing demonstrated that the left propeller feathered quickly and smoothly when oil pressure was removed from the hub, and that the left propeller governor would cut oil pressure to the hub.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain adequate airspeed following a loss of power on the left engine, resulting in loss of aircraft control. Factors included a loss of power on the left engine for undetermined reasons, and the pilot's failure to properly configure the airplane for the engine-out condition.

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