NTSB Identification: SEA05FA124.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, June 21, 2005 in Missoula, MT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/29/2006
Aircraft: Cessna 320E, registration: N3438Q
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 pilot noted there were no anomalies with the airplane prior to departure during the preflight and engine runups, and that the takeoff was normal until about 100 to 200 feet above the ground when the right engine lost power. After feathering the right propeller, securing the engine, and establishing a left bank into the operating engine, the airplane began to climb slowly. The pilot then turned about 25 degrees to the left towards a field to avoid some trees. However, due to the initial loss of altitude when the engine lost power the airplane was now below the top of a hill, which the pilot was unable to clear. The airplane subsequently impacted the hill in a slightly right wing low, nose high attitude. The aircraft was consumed by fire, but not before the pilot and his passenger egressed the airplane safely. During the postaccident recovery of the right engine's turbocharger, which had separated from the engine during the impact sequence, various pieces of paper were observed lodged between the turbocharger's impeller and its housing. An examination of the pieces of paper extracted from the turbocharger revealed they were from an air filter instructional sheet. It was also determined that the replacement air filter had been installed on the right engine approximately 4 months prior to the accident, with the airplane having accumulated about 54 hours during that time period. Inspection of a new packaged filter revealed that the instruction sheet (8 1/2 x 11 folded into a quarter sheet), along with a sticker are placed inside the filter canister and the canister is placed in a plastic bag. The sticker was at the bottom of the bag while the instructions were molded to the inside of the filter. The pilot disclosed that the gross weight of the airplane at takeoff was 5,382.6 pounds.

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

Terrain clearance was not possible as a result of a right engine failure. Factors contributing to the accident included the rising terrain, foreign material being ingested into the engine's turbocharger, which obstructed the turbocharger's impeller, the failure of company maintenance personnel to ensure that the air filter instruction sheet was removed after maintenance had been completed on the airplane, and the pilot's inadequate preflight planning and decision in taking off in excess of the airplane's maximum certificated gross takeoff weight.

Full narrative available

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