NTSB Identification: FTW04LA059.
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Accident occurred Friday, January 09, 2004 in Fort Worth, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/01/2004
Aircraft: Piper PA-23-160, registration: N3289P
Injuries: 3 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 departure, the airplane's fuel tanks were topped-off with 72 gallons of 100LL aviation fuel. On the take-off roll, when the airplane's airspeed increased to 85 miles per hour (mph) (red-line on the airspeed indicator), the pilot rotated, and the airplane began to climb. When the airspeed increased to 95 mph (blue-line on the airspeed indicator), the airplane suddenly yawed to the right and the airspeed decreased. The pilot said it, "felt like my right engine stopped working." In 3 to 4 seconds, the airplane was over a row of hangars. The pilot lowered the nose of the airplane in an attempt to gain airspeed. But, there was insufficient altitude to clear the hangars and subsequently the airplane collided with one of them, then impacted two parked aircraft. Examination of the right engine revealed that the mixture control cable was disengaged from the carburetor mixture control arm and the cotter pin used to secure the tension nut on the mixture cable was not installed. The mixture control swivel, stud, and a segment of the mixture control cable were examined at the NTSB's Material's Laboratory, Washington DC. According to a Safety Board metallurgist, examination of some of the components indicated wear damage. But, the mixture control cable did not exhibit any longitudinal gouge marks or wear damage that would have been consistent with it being separated during the accident sequence. In addition, the engine was test-run and it operated at various power settings up to 1,500 RPM. The engine ran continuously and without hesitation for approximately 10 minutes. The propeller was actuated and operated normally. Both magnetos were checked and no anomalies were noted. The engine driven fuel pump produced suction and exhaust, and oil was noted draining from the forward crankshaft area. The pilot reported a total of 377 flight hours, of which, 41 hours were in twin-engine aircraft. He also reported a total of 10 hours in the same make and model airplane. A weight and balance computation was made using the airplane's original factory weight and balance. Based on the calculations, the airplane was within weight and balance limits.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain control and the partial loss of engine power as a result of an improperly installed mixture control linkage.

Full narrative available

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