NTSB Identification: MIA04FA064.
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Accident occurred Sunday, April 04, 2004 in Fernandina Bch, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/20/2005
Aircraft: Piper PA-30, registration: N14A
Injuries: 2 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.
The airplane was fueled on the day of the accident; the fuel from the fuel truck was contaminant free. No rain was reported at a nearby airport from the time the airplane landed the day before, to the time of departure. After takeoff with the landing gear retracted, the flight climbed to approximately 200 feet, banked left, then quickly to the right. One witness briefly heard a sputtering sound. The airplane was observed to bank to the left, and impacted the ground while in a 25-30 degree left wing low and nose-low attitude. No smoke was noted trailing the airplane in-flight. Both main and auxiliary fuel tanks were ruptured. Examination of the flight controls, and each engine core revealed no evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction. The left propeller was not feathered. Corrosion and a small amount of debris were noted inside the left engine-driven fuel pump. Internal contamination, and corrosion was noted for both servo fuel injectors (fuel servo). Drops of water were noted in the regulator area of the left fuel servo. During troubleshooting for rough running engines in June 2002, a slight amount of water was detected in the fuel tanks; no repairs or work was performed to the airplane's fuel tanks or fuel caps between the troubleshooting date, and March 26, 2004. The pilot noted discrepancies with the fuel injectors on 2 separate flights in October 2003; no corrective action for either entry was taken. During the last annual inspection, a broken screw was removed from a nut plate in the left main fuel cell access hole plate assembly, the left main fuel tank fuel cell cover plate upper gasket was replaced, and both fuel quantity senders were removed, cleaned, and reinstalled with "new hardware." During the accident flight in a six-second period, the EGT readings for each cylinder of the left engine decreased on average approximately 659 degrees Fahrenheit, while the right engine EGT readings remained nearly the same. Testing of a six cylinder engine to determine the EGT drop with reduction to idle and sudden combustion cessation revealed the temperature drops were 86 and 177 degrees, respectively. Postaccident weight and balance calculations revealed the airplane gross weight at the time the engines were started was approximately 3,788 pounds, and the center of gravity (CG) was 89.66 inches; the weight and CG calculations did not include the weight of fuel found in the left tip tank. A limitation for the airplane was that any weight in excess of 3,650 pounds must be carried symmetrically as fuel in the tip tanks.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The failure of the pilot to feather the left propeller and his failure to maintain control of the airplane following a loss of engine power from the left engine resulting in the in-flight collision with terrain. A factor in the accident was the loss of power from the left engine for undetermined reasons. Full narrative available
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