NYC94LA074
NYC94LA074

On Monday, April 4, 1994 at 1848 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-28R-200, N3553T, piloted by Richard V. Palmer, was substantially damaged when it was ditched in Rye Lake, White Plains, New York. The pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The flight was being conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The flight departed Lawrence, Massachusetts, destined for the Westchester County Airport (HPN), White Plains, New York. The pilot was maneuvering in the traffic pattern at HPN, when he observed a drop in manifold pressure to 13 inches and a loss of engine power. He increased the throttle and mixture settings, activated the electric fuel boost pump and switched fuel tanks, but there was no increase in engine power. He initiated a forced landing to runway 29.

An airport operations supervisor witnessed the landing and stated:

The aircraft crossed over the threshold of RW29 at about thirty feet AGL and touched down around taxiway Golf, where I noticed heavy braking. The aircraft then attempted to depart and while in a right turn out descended rapidly and set down in Rye Lake about 1000 feet off shore.

Runway 29 was 4451 feet in length, and taxiway Golf was approximately 1000 feet from the end of the runway.

The pilot stated:

Realizing that I had in excess of 100 miles per hour indicated airspeed and minimal runway remaining I made the decision to lift off the runway in order to avoid trees.... I raised the landing gear...and retracted the flaps to 10 degrees. I was able to clear the trees...but was not able to gain altitude because the manifold pressure would not increase above 13 inches....it became apparent that I could not gain sufficient altitude to clear the surrounding trees and hills I [lowered] flaps and ditched in the lake.

An examination of the engine by Federal Aviation Administration Inspectors revealed that the throttle cable was disconnected from the fuel injector control arm.

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