SEA93LA208
SEA93LA208

On September 26, 1993, at 2330 mountain standard time (MST), a Piper PA-23-150, N200X, collided with objects during a forced landing initiated just after takeoff from Salt Lake City International Airport, Salt Lake City, Utah. The certified flight instructor received minor injuries, his student was not injured, and the aircraft, which was being operated in visual meteorological conditions at the time of the accident, sustained substantial damage. The flight, which was departing for Provo Municipal Airport, Provo, Utah, was not on a filed flight plan, and there was no report of an ELT activation.

According to the CFI, the pre-flight, taxi, run-up, and takeoff were all normal with no sign of impending problems. During the initial climb, as the aircraft reached an altitude of about 150 feet and an airspeed of 100 mph, one engine experienced an intermittent loss of power. At that point, the airspeed dropped rapidly to just below 80 mph, and the CFI took control of the aircraft. Because the engine was surging off and on, the CFI initially had difficulty determining which engine was experiencing the problem. He checked the fuel pumps on, confirmed the mixture, throttle, and propeller levers were full forward, and then attempted to identify the surging engine.

The CFI said that because they were drifting to the right, he felt that the right engine must be the one that was experiencing the intermittent power loss. He therefore slowly retarded the right throttle, which confirmed the right engine as the one that was malfunctioning. As the engine power was being reduced, it appeared to regain a consistent power output near the idle position. During the identification and verification process, the pilot initiated a gradual descent in order to maintain sufficient airspeed. After the engine was brought to idle, the aircraft continued to descend, and the pilot elected to attempt a forced landing in a field just off the end of the runway. The touchdown was successful, but during the landing roll, the aircraft hit a cow, went through an airport fence, and impacted a ditch.

During an inspection of the engine's ignition, fuel, and air induction systems by an FAA Airworthiness Inspector, no failed or malfunctioning parts or components were able to be identified.

The engine was later subjected to an FAA supervised test run at Utah State University. During that run, the ignition lead from the left magneto to the number three cylinder began to malfunction after about eight minutes of operation. That lead was replaced, and the engine was found to run normal up to and including full power.

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