SEA95LA088
SEA95LA088

On April 21, 1995, approximately 1325 Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA-28-236, N2101X, sustained substantial damage when it collided with terrain during a forced landing after a loss of power after takeoff at Tacoma Narrows Airport, Tacoma, Washington. The flight instructor and his private-rated instrument student were uninjured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, for which an instrument flight plan had been filed. There was no fire and the ELT actuated but did not assist in locating the accident site.

The two crewmembers stated that power was lost about 200 feet above the runway just after takeoff. The flight instructor assumed control of the aircraft after a sudden loss of power. He stated that he moved the throttle forward and aft to confirm the loss of power, and set up for an emergency landing slightly west of the runway. The aircraft rolled into a ditch during the emergency landing, where the landing gear separated and the aircraft was substantially damaged. The instrument student noted that the ignition was turned off and the fuel tanks were "closed" after the aircraft stopped moving. The instructor noted that the master switch was also turned off.

The engine was removed and shipped to the manufacturer for testing under the oversight of FAA inspectors. After some difficulties attributed to the test cell, the engine was started and run to full power for fifteen minutes, cooled, restarted and run to full power for an additional ten minutes. In the opinion of those conducting the tests, the engine ran successfully on the TCM test cell and was capable of operating at rated power.

An FAA inspector who inspected the aircraft after the accident noted that the cockpit mixture control lever was rigged so that it was aft of its locking mechanism when the mixture control arm on the fuel injection servo body was against its maximum enrichment stop. The Pilot Operating Handbook for the aircraft states that the purpose of the lock is "to prevent activation of the mixture control instead of the [propeller] pitch control." The FAA inspector noted that the mixture control cable had been replaced by the operator.

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