NTSB Identification: ANC05FA039.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, March 02, 2005 in Dunnellon, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/28/2006
Aircraft: Piper PA-32-300, registration: N444NM
Injuries: 2 Serious.

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 private pilot, with his adult son aboard, departed on a local area flight, with a return to the private fly-in community. After the initial climb, the pilot attempted to retard the throttle to a cruise power setting, but was unable to control the airplane's engine rpm with the throttle, and the engine rpm remained at takeoff power. He subsequently elected to return to the departure airport for an emergency landing. The airplane touched down with the engine still producing takeoff power, and the pilot decided to abort the landing. As the airplane began to climb, the engine rpm began to decrease and lose power, and the pilot selected an emergency landing area that contained 75-foot tall trees. The airplane collided with the trees, and sustained extensive damage to the wings, fuselage, and empennage. A postimpact fire ensued, with both the pilot and passenger trapped inside of the burning fuselage. The pilot's son was able to free the pilot before the airplane was consumed by fire. A postaccident engine examination revealed that the bolt that connects the throttle linkage to the fuel control arm was missing, and the throttle linkage was disconnected. According to an FAA airworthiness inspector who reviewed the accident airplane's maintenance logbooks, there was no entry in the logbook indicating that any maintenance or repairs had been conducted on the throttle linkage to the fuel control arm.

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

The improper installation of the bolt that connects the throttle linkage to the fuel control arm by an unknown maintenance person, which resulted in a loss of the bolt, a loss of engine rpm control, and subsequent forced landing and collision with trees.


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