On January 13, 2001, about 0713 central standard time, a Piper PA-23-160, N2407M, registered to Sidney Aviation Inc., impacted with the ground during a forced landing near the Peter Prince Field Airport, Milton, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time, and a VFR flight plan was filed for the 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight. The airplane was substantially damaged. The airline transport-rated pilot reported serious injuries. The flight was originating at the time, and was en route to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Witnesses heard the engines sputtering as the airplane started its takeoff roll and accelerated on the runway. The flight reached an altitude of about 200 to 300 feet above ground level. The pilot told investigators that he could not maintain altitude, he feathered the right engine, turned the airplane right about 100 degrees, and attempted a forced landing in a pasture. The landing gear was down and locked. According to the FAA the airplane stalled and impacted the ground right wing and nose low. The airplane impacted the ground about 8/10 of a mile northeast of the airport. Initial investigation revealed sufficient fuel.

Both engines were test run at Atlanta Air Salvage's facilities, Griffin, Georgia, under the supervision of Mr. Phillip Powell, NTSB Air Safety Investigator, Southeast Regional Office, Atlanta, Georgia. Both engines ran without discrepancies except for some intermittent roughness and missing during the right engine run.

During the run of the right engine a check of the magnetos revealed a 75-rpm drop on both sides. A post run examination of the right magneto revealed that one "P" lead for the right magneto was chaffed through the insulation. The shielding was frayed in the same area and "was capable of inadvertent grounding." Removal of the left-hand magneto points assembly cover revealed a chaffed wire on the points assembly. "The chaffed wire was capable of grounding through the insulation." (See photos 1 thru 6 attachments to this report).

At the time of the accident the pilot reported that he had a total flight time in all aircraft of about 2,960 hours. In addition, he reported 96 total hours in multi engine aircraft, and 41 hours in this make and model.

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