NTSB Identification: SEA04LA064.
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Accident occurred Friday, April 02, 2004 in Belliigham, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/01/2004
Aircraft: Grumman G-44, registration: N65914
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.
Not long into the flight the left engine began running rough. After adjusting the engine controls the engine smoothed out, but then began running rough again, prompting the pilot to proceed to his home base. Approaching his destination and observing that he could only get 1900 rpm out of the right propeller after advancing the throttle to 28.5 inches of manifold pressure, the pilot elected to proceed to a nearby airport. However, due to a radio communication failure and inability to maintain sufficient altitude to clear terrain bordering the airport, the pilot decided to make a water landing on the 20 square-mile bay adjoining the airport. Not realizing the tide was out and that the water was only about 6 inches deep, the pilot landed approximately 600 to 650 feet paralled to the shoreline. Subsequently, the right wing float impacted subsurface terrain, collapsing the float aft in compression and pivoting the float aft and up, substantially damaging the right aileron and four wing ribs. A post accident examination of the right engine and propeller revealed the propeller's oil control valve had developed a leak, which resulted in a lack of engine oil to the propeller. No definitive reason for the leak had been determined. Examination of the rough running left engine failed to reveal any anomalies which would preclude normal operation.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The failure of the pilot to select the proper touchdown point while conducting a forced landing. Factors included the #1 engine malfunction, the right propeller oil control valve leak, and the shallow subsurface terrain condition. Full narrative available
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