NTSB Identification: ANC05FA070.
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Accident occurred Saturday, April 30, 2005 in Fairbanks, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/28/2006
Aircraft: Taylorcraft F-19, registration: N3691T
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 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 commercial pilot and sole passenger were departing a private airpark on a 14 CFR Part 91 personal cross-country flight when the engine lost power. Witnesses and the passenger, a private pilot, said the airplane was between 300-500 feet above the ground at the time of the power loss, when the pilot made a steep, abrupt, 180 degree turn to return to the airport. The airplane immediately entered a stall/spin, and the pilot, who had prior aerobatic training, made a partial recovery, stopping the spin rotation, and returning the airplane to a nearly level attitude before impact. The airplane crashed in a marshy area, in a level attitude, with a high vertical velocity. The area north of the airpark was essentially flat, mostly unoccupied, with minimal obstructions. There were several areas suitable for a low altitude emergency landing ahead of, and in close proximity to, the accident airplane's original departure flight path. According to the passenger (the airplane's co-owner and pilot's wife), the airplane had a history of unexplained power losses on takeoff, and the pilot had successfully returned to the departure runway at various sites on at least two, possibly three, prior occasions. On one power loss at a different airport, the passenger was flying, and the accident pilot took the controls and made a steep turn back to the airport. Once on the ground, the engine appeared to run normally. The passenger indicated that on the accident flight, like previous flights, the loss of engine power was abrupt, "like pulling the engine to idle" but the engine did not stop completely. A review of the airplane's maintenance records disclosed that in response to the power losses, an engine magneto and a cylinder had been replaced/repaired, and the carburetor adjusted and flow tested. The airplane had accrued 2.3 hours since its last annual inspection. Postaccident inspection of the engine and related systems, including a flow test of the carburetor and complete disassembly of the engine, disclosed no evidence of any preimpact mechanical problem.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's failure to maintain a minimum airspeed during a low-altitude turn to return to the airport, and his improper in-flight decision to initiate a steep, low altitude turn, which resulted in an inadvertent stall/spin, and an in-flight collision with terrain. Contributing to the accident was the loss of engine power for undetermined reasons. Full narrative available
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