NTSB Identification: NYC08LA202
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, June 03, 2008 in Palatka, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/15/2009
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28R-201T, registration: N230ME
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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 accident airplane was a test platform for an experimental rotary engine. During the takeoff roll, the airplane accelerated normally and the pilot rotated the airplane at 75 knots. He established a positive rate of climb and retracted the landing gear. Immediately past the departure end of the 3,500-foot runway, the pilot thought that the rate of climb was "sluggish." As the airplane climbed, the pilot noticed that it was too close to the trees at the departure end of the runway, but was still climbing. The engine power decreased, and the airplane started to descend. The pilot attempted to avoid obstacles, such as trees and power lines, but the airplane eventually impacted trees and terrain. Examination of the engine revealed that the exhaust muffler was about 75 percent blocked by a collapse of the internal perforated tube and packing material. The exhaust muffler had been installed on the engine for approximately 1 year, and had accumulated approximately 171 flight hours prior to the accident flight. The engine was successfully test run following the accident, with no abnormalities noted.

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

A partial loss of engine power due to a blockage of the engine exhaust system as a result of an internal failure of the muffler.

Full narrative available

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