On September 7, 2006, about 1000 central daylight time, a twin-engine Piper PA-23-250 airplane, N330PL, was destroyed when it collided with terrain following a loss of power from both engines during takeoff from the James H. Easom Field Airport (M23), near Newton, Mississippi. The private pilot, sole occupant of the airplane, sustained minor injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The 50-nautical mile cross-country flight was originating at the time of the accident and was destined for the Louisville Winston County Airport (LMS), near Louisville, Mississippi. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The 1,047-hour pilot reported that he arrived at M23 to pick up his airplane after maintenance was performed on the nose landing gear. The pilot reported that during the airplane's preflight inspection, he sampled fuel from each of the six fuel drains and observed no water contamination. After both engines performed "normally" during the engine run up, the pilot departed from Runway 13. Runway 13 was reported to be a 3,000-foot long, by 75-foot wide asphalt runway.
The pilot added that "everything was normal" during the takeoff and the initial climb. When around 500 feet above ground level (agl), the pilot initiated a left turn. Suddenly, the left and right engines began "missing and popping" and then experienced a complete loss of power. The pilot elected to turn back towards the runway and began going through the emergency checklist.
Unable to reach the runway, the airplane descended into an area of trees. The pilot reported that as the airplane began to impact the trees, the "engines came to life"; however, the airplane continued to descend until it impacted the ground. The airplane came to rest in an upright position and the pilot was able to exit the airplane unassisted. Moments after coming to rest, the wreckage was engulfed in flames.
A witness reported that he observed the pilot take a fuel sample from each of the airplane's fuel tanks during the preflight inspection. The witness added that he heard the pilot perform a magneto check and the engines "never sputtered." The witness further reported that about 200-300 feet agl both engines sputtered, popped, and lost power; however, they sounded as if they regained power at tree top level before the airplane impacted terrain.
A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector responded to the accident site. The inspector reported that the airplane was nearly consumed by the post crash fire.
An airframe and powerplant mechanic (A&P), under the direction of the NTSB investigator-in-charge (IIC), examined the airplane's engines. The mechanic reported that upon removing the left engine's carburetor bowl, he found approximately 9.3 oz of water and about 2.1 oz of a blue liquid consistent with 100 low lead aviation fuel. The mechanic also reported that he found water in the left engine's fuel pump. According to the mechanic, the right engine's carburetor and fuel system could not be examined due to thermal damage. The mechanic further reported that the accident airplane sat outside during a rain storm since it was last flown.