NTSB Identification: MIA05LA116.
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Nonscheduled 14 CFR
Accident occurred Tuesday, May 31, 2005 in Fort Myers, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/29/2006
Aircraft: Piper PA-32R-300, registration: N333TG
Injuries: 1 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.

The pilot stated that no abnormalities were noted during a thorough preflight inspection or during the walk around. The takeoff roll and initial climb were uneventful, at about 300 feet above the ground, the top cowling of the engine separated and struck the right side of the windshield and the right side of the horizontal stabilator. The pilot returned to the airport and landed without further incident. The center portion of the top engine cowling was not recovered. The right portion of the top engine cowling separated in-flight but was recovered, and the left portion of the top engine cowling remained attached to its two latch points. Examination of the right portion of the cowling revealed that the forward latch was broken and separated in half. Both the forward and aft latches were bent, twisted aft, and canted aft. Examination of the left portion of the cowling revealed no apparent damage to the latches. The accident airplane had a previous incident on October 22, 2003, in which the top engine cowling separated during climb out and impacted the windshield. The airplane returned to the airport and landed without further incident also. Examination of the maintenance records revealed that following the incident in 2003, the top engine cowling was replaced by a cowling which had accumulated 11,800 flight hours at the time of the replacement. That cowling subsequently had actions performed to it, including two repairs of the fiberglass structure accomplished on July 7, 2004 and September 14, 2004. The latter of these repairs addressed a crack at the forward area of the top cowling.

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

Inadequate maintenance and repair of the engine top cowling by company maintenance personnel, resulting in failure and separation of the cowling in flight.

Full narrative available

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