NTSB Identification: NYC03LA072.
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Accident occurred Thursday, March 27, 2003 in Berlin, NJ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/05/2004
Aircraft: Piper PA-28RT-201, registration: N8098Q
Injuries: 1 Minor,1 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.
Prior to the accident flight, the pilot performed maintenance on the airplane's engine, with the cowling open. The pilot believed that after the maintenance, he did not properly secure the left side of the cowling. After takeoff on runway 23, about 300 feet above the ground, the left-side cowling unlatched and repeatedly struck the windshield. The pilot then made a left turn back towards the airport in an attempt to land on runway 05; however, the airplane landed hard on a grass area between runway 5 and a taxiway. Subsequently, the landing gear collapsed and the airplane slid to a stop.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's inadequate preflight inspection which led to an unsecured cowling and loss of aircraft control. Factors were the pilot's diverted attention and the unsecured cowling.
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