On July 12, 2007, about 1535 central daylight time, a Piper PA-23-160, N4043P, was substantially damaged during collision with terrain at Enterprise Municipal Airport (EDN), Enterprise, Alabama. The certificated airline transport pilot (ATP) received minor injuries, and the certificated private pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local examination flight conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The flight originated from EDN about 1445. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, the private pilot was receiving a checkride from the ATP, who was also a designated pilot examiner. The private pilot already held a rating for airplane multiengine land. The purpose of the checkride was for the private pilot to obtain a commercial pilot certificate, with a rating for airplane multiengine land and instrument airplane.
The private pilot reported that after completing maneuvers at altitude, they returned to the airport and he performed a simulated single-engine instrument approach to a full-stop landing. He then taxied back for takeoff, performed a short-field takeoff, and joined the traffic pattern for a short-field landing. The private pilot believed that the only remaining maneuvers to be completed were a short-field landing and emergency descent. During the final approach for a short-field landing, the examiner simulated an engine failure by reducing power on the right engine to zero thrust. The private pilot stated, "After turning final...the examiner gave me an engine failure. I believe he gave me a right engine failure. I completed the emergency procedure, which included identifying the dead engine, verifying and feathering the right engine. I believe he bumped it out of feather and set it to zero thrust, but I really don't know what he did. I only had control of the left engine and had to concentrate on completing my short-field landing."
Moments later, the airplane seemed as if it was not going to reach the runway, and the examiner ordered a go-around. The private pilot increased power on the left engine, partially retracted the flaps, but noticed that the airplane did not respond as it usually did. The airplane started to yaw left and the examiner took control of the airplane. The private pilot then noticed that the left propeller speed was decreasing. The examiner reduced power on both engines to control yaw, and attempted to land the airplane in a grass area off the left side of the runway, in an effort to avoid trees. The airplane then impacted the ground and was substantially damaged.
When asked how the accident could have been prevented, the private pilot wrote, "I don't believe the examiner should have given me an engine failure on short final, especially since we had already completed all the single-engine maneuvers and the short-field landing procedure doesn't include a [single engine] approach. I believe the temperature and [density altitude] contributed to the poor aircraft performance."
The examiner reported that he simulated an engine failure of the right engine. The private pilot correctly identified the failed engine and feathered the right propeller. Subsequently, the examiner set the right engine to zero thrust. The private pilot remarked that the airplane was not going to reach the runway, and executed a go-around. The examiner further stated, "We both pushed all levers forward in an attempt to go-around. The aircraft began to turn left and he was unable to stop the turn. The left engine had to be running as he had selected gear-up for the go-around and the gear did retract. When it was evident that we would not be able to safely go-around, both of us pulled the power levers to idle to prevent a roll in the aircraft and further turn to the left as we were approaching a tree line."
Examination of the accident site and wreckage, by an FAA inspector, revealed that the airplane had come to rest 150 feet left of the runway. The left wing was separated from its mounting location, and the left engine propeller was observed in the feathered position. The right engine propeller blades were bent aft and the right wing was wrinkled in multiple places. Both horizontal stabilizers were wrinkled, and the rest of the airplane displayed varying degrees of damage.
Examination of the cockpit revealed that both throttle levers were full forward. The propeller control levers were in the mid-range position, with the left propeller control trailing the right propeller control by approximately 1 inch. The left propeller control moved freely from stop to stop, with corresponding movement noted on the left propeller governor. The mixture control levers were near idle cutoff. Both fuel selectors were in their respective main fuel tank position, and all four fuel tanks contained fuel.
The pilot examiner held an airline transport pilot certificate, with numerous ratings, including airplane multiengine land. He reported a total flight experience of 16,602 flight hours, with 8,357 hours in multiengine airplanes, and 237 hours in the same make and model as the accident airplane. His most recent FAA first-class medical certificate was issued on June 18, 2007.
The private pilot held a private pilot certificate, with multiple ratings, including airplane multiengine land. He reported a total flight experience of 1,463 hours, with 98.7 hours in multiengine airplanes, and 17.3 hours in the same make and model as the accident airplane. His most recent FAA first-class medical certificate was issued on May 22, 2007.
The airplane was manufactured in 1958. The airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on August 21, 2006. At the time of the inspection, the airplane had accrued 8,494 total hours of operation.
A weather observation taken 20 minutes after the accident, at Cairns Army Airfield (OZR), Ozark, Alabama, located approximately 9 nautical miles east of the accident site, included: winds from 310 degrees at 6 knots, visibility 10 miles, scattered clouds at 4,500 feet, temperature 91 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 72 degrees Fahrenheit, and an altimeter setting of 29.99 inches of mercury.
Review of the FAA Commercial Pilot Practical Test Standards revealed, "During simulated engine failures on multiengine practical tests, the examiner shall set zero thrust after the applicant has simulated feathering the propeller. The examiner shall require the applicant to demonstrate at least one landing with a simulated feathered propeller with the engine set to zero thrust." The test standards contained instructions for the applicant to actually feather a propeller, but it specified that the procedure be done at altitude. All other references pertained to simulating propeller feathering.
Further review of the tests standards revealed, "The examiner is expected to use good judgment in the performance of simulated emergency procedures. The use of the safest means for simulation is expected. Consideration must be given to local conditions, both meteorological and topographical, at the time of the test, as well as the applicant's workload, and the condition of the aircraft used. If the procedure being evaluated would jeopardize safety, it is expected that the applicant will simulate that portion of the maneuver."