DEN00LA115
DEN00LA115

On June 20, 2000, approximately 2145 mountain daylight time, a Cessna 172K, N84105, operated by Champion Airviews Co., of Port Orange, Florida, was destroyed when it collided with water during takeoff from a beach near Orchard, Colorado. The commercial pilot, the sole occupant aboard, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed for the personal flight being conducted under Title 14 CFR Part 91. The flight originated at Greeley, Colorado, approximately 1830.

In a telephone interview (and repeated in his accident report), the pilot said that while he was en route to Akron, Colorado, he observed smoke coming from the cowling and a light smoke entered the cockpit. He elected to make a precautionary landing on a beach alongside the Riverside Reservoir. After landing, the pilot inspected the airplane but couldn't find the smoke source. After a period of time to allow the smoke to dissipate, the pilot prepared for takeoff. He said all engine instrument indications were normal and maximum engine power was being developed. A short field takeoff was made, and he lifted off "prior to [the] go-no go decision point." As the airplane crossed over the water, it began losing altitude. The right wing dropped and the airplane struck the water and nosed over.

The pilot noted that extensive maintenance had been performed on the airplane and on two different occasions, he had made off-airport precautionary landings due to smoke in the cockpit. In the first incident, wiring inside the transponder had burned. In the second incident, unsecured wires had chaffed against a bus bar and short circuited. He surmised that the smoke source during this latest incident was due to the "breaking in" of the newly installed muffler and exhaust stacks.

The airplane was submerged and water damaged. Additionally, there was damage to both wings and empennage.

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