On January 17, 1994, about 1017 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-28-180, N2338T, registered to Jeff A. Kates, was ditched about 6 nautical miles east-southeast of the Palm Beach County Park Airport, Lantana, Florida, while on a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the local flight. The airplane was not recovered and is presumed to be destroyed. The private-rated pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. The flight originated about 5 minutes earlier from the Lantana Airport, West Palm Beach, Florida. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The pilot stated that before departure he performed a preflight of the airplane which included checking the fuel tanks for contaminants; none were found. The fuel quantity was determined to be 20 gallons of fuel in each wing tank and the oil quantity was determined to be 8 quarts; full oil capacity is 8 quarts. He also performed an engine run-up before departure and stated that each magneto drop was no more than 50 rpm with a differential of no more than 25 rpm. The flight departed from runway 9, and climbed to about 1,000 feet while on an easterly heading. When the flight was about 4 miles east of the departure airport, the engine lost power and began to backfire. The airplane was unable to maintain altitude and during the descent, he verified that the mixture control was in the full rich position, the auxiliary fuel pump was turned on, and the fuel selector was repositioned. He stated that he did not check the magnetos nor did he apply carburetor heat. Just before ditching he opened the door and exited the airplane before it sank. He was rescued by the Palm Beach Sheriff's Department about 45 minutes after the ditching.
The airplane has not been recovered; therefore, no determination could be made as to the reason for the reported loss of engine power.