NTSB Identification: NYC07LA166
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, July 12, 2007 in Enterprise, AL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/06/2009
Aircraft: PIPER PA-23-160, registration: N4043P
Injuries: 1 Minor,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.
A Federal-Aviation-Administration-designated (FAA) pilot examiner was giving a private pilot checkride for the purpose of the private pilot obtaining a commercial pilot certificate with a rating for airplane multi-engine land. Toward the end of the checkride, the private pilot had completed single-engine maneuvers, including a simulated single-engine instrument approach to a full-stop landing. The private pilot believed that the only remaining maneuvers to be completed were a short-field landing and emergency descent. During the final approach for a short-field landing, the examiner simulated a right engine failure. The private pilot feathered the right propeller, but thought that the examiner may have "bumped it out of feather and set it to zero thrust." Shortly thereafter, the private pilot realized that the airplane was not going to reach the runway, and attempted a go-around. When power was increased on both engines, the airplane started to turn left. The private pilot then noticed that the left propeller speed was decreasing. The examiner took control of the airplane, reduced power on both engines, and landed in a grass field. Examination of the airplane did not reveal any preimpact mechanical malfunctions, and the left propeller was observed in the feathered position. Both propeller controls were found mid-range, with the left propeller control trailing the right propeller control by approximately 1 inch. The FAA Commercial Pilot Practical Test Standards contained instructions for the applicant to actually feather a propeller, but it specified that the procedure be done at altitude. All other references pertained to simulating propeller feathering. Further review of the test standards revealed that, "The examiner is expected to use good judgment in the performance of simulated emergency procedures. The use of the safest means for simulation is expected. Consideration must be given to local conditions, both meteorological and topographical, at the time of the test, as well as the applicant's workload, and the condition of the aircraft used."
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The designated examiner's improper decision to simulate an engine failure on short final approach, in conjunction with a short-field landing maneuver, and his inadequate remedial action. Contributing to the accident was the private pilot's inadvertent feathering of the left propeller. Full narrative available
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