NTSB Identification: LAX05FA296.
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Accident occurred Sunday, September 11, 2005 in Lakewood, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/26/2007
Aircraft: Cessna 152, registration: N6565L
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 descended to ground impact while maneuvering to return to the runway following a partial loss of power in the takeoff initial climb. The airplane departed runway 25 right. About 30 seconds later, the pilot reported poor climb performance to the tower controller and requested to return to the airport. Ground witnesses, including pilots at the airport, said the airplane was low and appeared to be slower than normal. The engine maintained a constant low rpm (revolutions per minute) sound; it was not coughing, sputtering, or backfiring. The nose was up, the wings were rocking, and the tail was moving back and forth. The airplane stalled, the right wing dropped about 90 degrees, and the nose went nearly straight down. The airplane came to rest behind a building. Total time recorded on the engine at the last 100-hour inspection was 2,762.5 hours, and it had not been overhauled. Work performed included an oil and oil filter change, a check of the exhaust system, gapping of the spark plugs, a check for compliance with airworthiness directives, and a notation that compression was 70/80 or better. The manufacturer's recommended time between overhauls is 2,400 hours. Engine examination determined that only one top spark plug appeared to be within service limits. Disassembly of the engine revealed broken rings on two pistons. One piston had a scarf gap that allowed combustion blow-by (blow torching) to consume piston material. False brinnelling was extensive on the face of the cylinder number 1 exhaust camshaft follower and the cylinder number 3 exhaust lobe of the camshaft. All of the internal engine components displayed signatures that were consistent with an over extended service life. The ignition switch was in the right position. It could not be determined if the pilots left the switch in the right position after the before takeoff magneto check, or intentionally selected the right position while troubleshooting the lack of power in flight.

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

the certified flight instructor's failure to maintain an adequate airspeed resulting in a stall and loss of control. Also causal was the engine's loss of partial power due to inadequate maintenance, worn spark plugs, worn pistons, and broken piston rings.

Full narrative available

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