MIA00LA193
MIA00LA193

On June 29, 2000, about 1630 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-23-160 Apache, N3317P, registered to and operated by Britannia Flight Center, as a Title 14 CFR Part 91 instructional flight, crashed after takeoff from Winter Haven Airport, Winter Haven, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The commercial-rated flight instructor, and one dual student received minor injuries, and the airplane incurred substantial damage. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

The flight instructor stated that the student was flying the airplane, and they had been performing touch-and-go landings, and had just taken off. The instructor further stated that during the climbout, at about 500 feet indicated altitude, the left engine ceased operating. The instructor said that as soon as he realized that the engine had ceased operating, he took control of the airplane. He said he recognized that the left engine had ceased operating by the yaw to the left, and he performed the normal procedures, and flew back to the airport, making communication announcements on the frequency, 122.7. The instructor said that as he was flying the airplane, he noticed the landing gear was not coming down, so he leveled off and proceeded to pump the gear down. By the time the gear indicator lights showed three green lights, the instructor said that he had flown past the airport boundary at an altitude of 100 feet above ground level. The instructor said that he was going to try to turn around, but decided to proceed straight ahead, since the airplane was not climbing at Vyse. He said he then looked for the nearest, safest place to put the airplane down, saw orange groves, and decided that the orange grove was the safest place to land.

A certified FAA mechanic with inspection authorization examined the left engine, and did not find any mechanical failure or malfunction with the engine.

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