On August 26, 2001, at 1039 Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA-32-301T, N9288X, collided with a fence during an aborted takeoff from Fullerton, California. The private pilot/owner was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The pilot and three passengers were not injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. Palo Alto, California, was the destination for the personal cross-country flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and an IFR flight plan had been filed. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The Safety Board Investigator-in-Charge (IIC) interviewed the pilot and the pilot submitted a written statement. The pilot stated that he purchased the airplane 3 months prior to the accident and had flown it about 15 times with no problems noted. He also owns a Piper PA-32-300, which he has flown for 7 years. He flew to Fullerton on Tuesday, August 21, and noted no discrepancies.
He filled the airplane with fuel, which was 102 gallons useable. He said everything checked normal during preflight, taxi, and during the engine run-up.
During the departure, he applied full throttle and noted 38.5 inches of manifold pressure at 2,500 rpm. He crosschecked instruments and his alignment. He was approaching midfield and noted his airspeed was above 65 knots, but not increasing. The manifold pressure looked the same, but the rpm was below 2,500; he thought it had dropped about 100 rpm. The airplane did not feel or sound like it was accelerating. He had not detected any hesitation in the engine, and did not hear any metallic sounds. He elected to abort the takeoff as he passed midfield and pulled the throttle back. He was unable to stop on the runway and collided with an airport boundary fence about 20 feet past the end of the runway. The landing gear sheared off and the left wing sustained substantial damage.
On October 4, 2001, the IIC and a representative from Textron Lycoming examined the airplane at Aircraftsman in Chino, California. Investigators removed the top spark plugs for examination. They noted similar gaps and no mechanical deformation on all spark plugs. The spark plug electrodes were gray in color, which corresponded to normal operation according to the Champion Aviation Check-A-Plug AV-27 Chart. The Lycoming representative examined the cylinders with a lighted borescope. He noted a slight accumulation of oil on the cylinders on the left side of the engine. The recovery agent reported that he had to lay the airplane on its left side for a while during the recovery process. Investigators moved the throttle, mixture, and propeller controls, and observed them travel freely and smoothly between their high and low limits.
The recovery agent removed the wings during recovery. He plumbed a fuel can into the fuel selector valve in the cabin, and strapped the fuselage to a trailer.
The IIC had the pilot/owner run the engine. The pilot started the engine using his normal procedures and allowed the engine to warm up. The propeller cycled normally and the IIC observed a 50-rpm drop when checking both magnetos. The pilot ran the engine up to full takeoff power, and all instruments, including manifold pressure and rpm, went to their red (maximum) limit marks. The pilot reduced power to idle and then ran the engine back to full power with no anomalies noted. The pilot secured the engine using his normal procedures with no difficulties encountered.
During the repair process, the owner had the propeller governor inspected. The repair facility thought the governor appeared to be fairly new and in good condition overall. The facility noted minor wear on the inside of the relief valve, which they thought could lead to surging, and that maximum rpm was 50 higher than specified. They reported that all other parameters were within manufacturer's specifications.