NTSB Identification: LAX02LA065.
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Accident occurred Sunday, January 13, 2002 in Oceano, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/29/2004
Aircraft: Piper PA-24-250, registration: N328EJ
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The airplane lost engine power in the traffic pattern and collided with an airport perimeter fence when it landed short of the runway. The pilot reported that while on the downwind leg of the traffic pattern, he lowered the landing gear. He heard a loud bang from the firewall area, and the instrument panel caved in. The engine lost power, and he maneuvered the airplane towards the airport. The airplane touched down about 500 to 1,000 feet short of the runway, and collided with an airport perimeter fence. A post accident examination of the airplane revealed that the mixture control cable separated at the mixture control arm. The engine control bracket, part number 21189-00, was missing. Without the bracket, the mixture control cable hangs freely down below the engine, where the nose gear is located when in the retracted position. A kink in the mixture cable indicated that it became caught on a Zerk fitting located on the pivot point of the nose landing gear when the nose gear was extended to the down position. This resulted in the mixture control cable separating from the mixture control arm on the carburetor. Maintenance records revealed that the airplane was about 2 months overdue for an annual inspection.

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

A loss of engine power due to the separation of the mixture control cable from the mixture control arm of the carburetor. The mixture cable separation was due to maintenance personnel's failure to secure the mixture control cable away from the nose landing gear, which resulted in the cable snagging during gear extension. A factor in the accident was the airplane being overdue for an annual inspection.

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