On August 7, 2001, at 0740 mountain daylight time, a Cessna 320, multiengine airplane, N3338P, collided with terrain following a loss of engine power during the takeoff/initial climb from runway 15 at the Meadow Lake Airport, Falcon, Colorado. The airplane was owned by Three Eight Papa Group, LTD, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and operated by the pilot under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The private pilot received minor injuries and the pilot rated passenger in the right front seat and the passenger in the right rear seat received serious injuries. The airplane was destroyed by impact and fire damage. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight, and a flight plan was not filed. The personal flight was originating at the time of the accident. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
A witness/private pilot observed the airplane as it taxied to the runway and aligned for takeoff. He reported hearing the engines before the takeoff roll, and subsequently, observed the airplane 3/4 of the way down the 6,000-foot runway "not having achieved any lift and no apparent increase in speed." The airplane then veered to the right side of the runway, and the right main landing gear went off the runway. The airplane then achieved "some lift and rose slightly." Black smoke was observed coming from the right engine. The airplane climbed to approximately 100 feet agl, entered a left turn, and "stalled." The airplane struck the ground and burst into flames.
On the Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1/2), the pilot reported that immediately after lift off from the runway, the airplane veered to the right and did not climb. He turned the airplane to the left to avoid a 4-foot berm approximately 30 feet to the right of the runway. He thinks he saw the left tachometer reading zero, but saw the left propeller turning. The airplane was in a 30 degree left bank and descending toward the ground when he leveled the wings. Subsequently, the airplane went through a barbed wire fence, hit the ground, and slid to a stop. By the time the airplane came to rest, the "ground fire engulfed the cockpit."
The pilot rated passenger reported that the pilot had "revved" the right engine several times during the run-up, and during the takeoff roll, the pilot was "not able to bring the mixture up on the right engine. I told him I did not think he would be able to make it. He took off anyway and started a left turn." The passenger further reported that there had been "trouble with the right engine ever since it was reworked several months prior to the accident." He had aborted several takeoffs "because the right engine would flood out when trying to bring the mixture up."
The pilot held a private pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land, multiengine land, and instrument ratings. The Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report indicated the pilot had accumulated a total of 599.4 flight hours of which 113.9 hours were in the make and model of the accident airplane. The report indicated the pilot had flown 4.8 hours in the previous 90 days of which 3.8 were in the make and model of the accident airplane.
The Cessna 320 airplane, serial number 320-0082, manufactured under Civil Aviation Regulations (CAR) 1.67, was issued an airworthiness certificate on January 23, 1962. The multiengine airplane was equipped with two Continental TSIO-470-B six cylinder reciprocating engines (left engine, S/N 100044-7-B-R; right engine, S/N 100043-7-B-R), each rated at 260 horsepower, and each engine had a Hartzell propeller, model HC-A2VF-2. The airplane was registered to the current owner on September 18, 2000. Shoulder harnesses were not installed in the airplane.
A review of the airframe maintenance records revealed that the airplane underwent its last annual inspection on November 16, 2000, at an aircraft total time of 4,169.2 hours. At this annual inspection, both engines were removed (due to propeller strikes), disassembled, inspected, and reassembled per Teledyne Continental's Overhaul Manual. The engines were reinstalled in the airframe with new Hartzell propellers.
According to the FAA inspector and the airframe representative, who responded to the accident site, the airplane came to rest upright on a measured magnetic heading of 050 degrees, approximately 425 feet to the southwest of the extended centerline of runway 15. The wreckage distribution path extended approximately 243 feet on a measured magnetic heading of 120 degrees from the initial impact point. The main fuel tanks (tip tanks) and the main landing gear separated from the airframe. The integrity of the left auxiliary fuel tank was compromised, and the right auxiliary fuel tank was full of blue colored fuel. The left fuel tank selector was found in the main tank position, and the right fuel tank selector was found in the auxiliary tank position. The left wing and aileron were bent upward from the outboard wing rib with two additional bends inboard from the rib. Flight control cable continuity was established to the primary flight controls. The landing gear was extended. Cockpit instruments were found destroyed. The throttle, mixture, and propeller controls for each engine were found in the midpoint positions.
The engines were found separated from the nacelles. Each propeller was attached to its respective engine; however, one blade from each propeller was found separated from its hub. Both of the separated blades were bent, twisted and exhibited leading edge damage and chordwise scratches. The left propeller blade that remained attached at the hub had the outboard portion bent aft, with chordwise scratches and leading edge damage. The right propeller blade that remained attached at the hub was bent aft and twisted, with chordwise scratches and leading edge damage.
On August 8, 2000, the NTSB investigator-in-charge and the engine representative examined the engines at Beegle's Aircraft Service, Greeley, Colorado. The engine driven fuel pump (P/N 638155-2; S/N 10105RA) was removed from the accessory section of the left engine. According to the engine representative, "the inside of the air blast tube had collapsed in, which could have restricted cooling air. There was considerable silicone globed around the blast tube." When the crankshaft for each engine was rotated, "thumb compression" was obtained on all the cylinders, and engine continuity was confirmed. Both engines were found to have their magneto timing at 20 degrees BTC . When bench checked, all magnetos produced spark on all their leads. The turbocharger compressor, for each engine, rotated.