NTSB Identification: WPR11LA401
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, August 21, 2011 in Cabazon, CA
Aircraft: PIPER PA-31-310, registration: N1009S
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.
This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
On August 21, 2011, about 1545 Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA-31-310, N1009S, experienced a loss of engine power in the left engine during cruise and made a forced landing in open desert terrain near Cabazon, California. Southern California Edison (SoCal Edison) operated the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as aerial survey flight. The commercial pilot and two surveyors were not injured, the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local area flight that departed Banning Airport (BNG), Banning, California, at an undetermined time. No flight plan had been filed.
The pilot was interviewed by the National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge (NTSB IIC). He stated that the purpose of the flight was to survey the power lines in the area of BNG to the Palm Springs wind farms. The pilot had flown the airplane to BNG the day before and performed a flight that day. He had flown the surveyors the morning of the accident, and the accident flight in the afternoon was to be the last flight. On the previous two flights, there had been no mechanical discrepancies encountered. The first part of the accident flight was uneventful from BNG to the wind farms. He made the turn back to BNG and was about 20 miles out of BNG when he heard a loud bang coming from the left engine. Oil began gushing out of the engine, followed by an engine shutdown. The pilot stated that he then feathered the propeller and attempted to return to BNG airport. He stated that he was not able to maintain altitude, and decided to make a forced landing in an open field.
According to the operator, the airplane was hired by Towill, Inc., to perform survey work for SoCal Edison.
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