On May 13, 2000, at 1013, Eastern Daylight Time, a Piper PA-22, N6841B, was substantially damage after a loss of engine power while executing a go-around at Smith Mountain Lake Airport, Moneta, Virginia. The certificated private pilot received minor injuries, and the two passengers were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight that originated from Farmville Regional Airport, Farmville, Virginia, about 0920. No flight plan was filed, and the flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
According to the pilot, he added 10 gallons of fuel at Farmville, 5 to each tank. He departed and flew to Smith Mountain Lake area. He entered the downwind, selected carburetor heat on, reduced engine rpm to 1,300, and left the flaps up. The pilot turned base then final. While on final the airplane was on glide path until reaching the intended touchdown point. Unable to get the airplane on the ground, the pilot elected to execute a go-around. He advanced the throttle, but the engine did not respond. He retarded the throttle, and advanced it a second time; still there was no response from the engine. The pilot increased the pitch attitude of the airplane to clear some powerlines and trees at the far end of the runway. The airplane impacted two trees past the powerlines, and then impacted the ground. In a subsequent interview, the pilot stated the engine was operating on the left fuel tank when the loss of power occurred.
A witness saw the airplane fly down the last 1,000 feet of the runway, in a nose up attitude, while approximately 60 feet agl. The flaps were retracted, and the witness reported hearing the engine "stumble/sputter." The witness added that when the airplane passed his position, it appeared to be in an "accelerated stall." After the accident, the witness went to the accident site and found that the occupants had already exited the airplane. He smelled fuel and saw fuel dripping from the engine cowl. He looked inside the airplane, noted that the fuel selector was "ON" and selected it "OFF." The drip stopped.
On May 17, 2000, an engine run was preformed by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspector. The battery was connected, and the electrical master was selected "ON." Both fuel quantity indicators showed "slightly" less than a 1/4 of a tank each. The starter was engaged and the engine started after approximately two revolutions of the propeller. Engine oil pressure increased to 70 PSI, and the engine idled, "smoothly" about 600 RPM.
The engine run lasted about 10 minutes. During this period, the throttle was advanced from idle to full throttle numerous times. Each time the engine achieved approximately 2,350 RPM. A check of the left and right magnetos was preformed at 700 RPM, 1,000 RPM, 1,500 RPM, and 1,800 RPM. During the checks, the engine ran "smooth" and the RPM dropped between 50 RPM and 75 RPM each time. Carburetor heat was applied and engine RPM dropped 75 RPM from 1,500 RPM, and 100 RPM from 1,800 RPM. With carburetor heat "ON" and then "OFF," the throttle was advanced "rapidly" from idle to full with no engine hesitation. During engine shutdown, when the mixture control was selected "OFF," engine RPM increased 75 RPM before dropping to zero.
After completing the engine run, a visual inspection of the engine was preformed, and no fuel or oil leaks were identified. Six gallons of fuel was then drained from each tank. No contaminates were Identified. Fuel was also drained from the carburetor. No contaminates were identified. Both fuel cap vents were inspected and found functional.
According to the FAA Inspector, the airplane did not comply with FAA Airworthiness Directive 73-09-06, which stated: "To prevent power interruption and acceleration hang-up resulting from abrupt throttle movement, accomplish the following: Attach the following operating limitation placard to the instrument panel near the throttle in full view of the pilot. Use 1/8 inch min. size lettering."
"DO NOT OPEN THROTTLE RAPIDLY (IDLE TO FULL THROTTLE, 2 SECONDS MINIMUM)"
According to the FAA Inspector, next to the right fuel gauge was a placard that read, "NO TAKE-OFF ON RIGHT TANK WITH LESS THAN 1/3 TANK."
According to FAA Airworthiness Directive 67-24-02, "To forestall the possibility of engine fuel starvation during takeoff operations, install a placard on the right fuel quantity gauge.... The placard shall read:"
"RIGHT TANK LEVEL FLIGHT ONLY WITH LESS THAN 1/3 TANK."