On May 18, 2010, approximately 0900 central daylight time, N6911Z, a Piper PA-32R-301T single-engine airplane, sustained substantial damage when it collided with a fence during a loss of engine power on take off from Alpine-Casparis Municipal Airport (E38), Alpine, Texas. The private pilot and the passenger were not injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot. No flight plan was filed for the flight that was destined for Fort Stockton, Texas. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight conducted under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
In a written statement, the pilot said that on the morning of the accident he started his airplane and taxied to the fuel pump, then shut down the engine, and topped off both wing tanks with 100LL aviation gasoline. He then re-started the engine and taxied to Runway 19 and performed an engine run-up. The pilot added that he normally advances the throttle, prop control, and mixture from left to right and will monitor the EGT to make sure the temperature stays in the high 1300 degree to low 1400 degree range during the take off roll. However, on this take off roll, he noted the EGT was reading 1450 degrees, so he increased mixture to lower the temperature. The pilot said, the roll out "seemed as I expected since there was no winds and the runway gradient was uphill." The pilot said he rotated around the mid-point of the 6,003-foot-long runway and began to climb but, the "engine seemed to be slowing." He checked the position of the throttle, the prop control, and the mixture, and noted that the EGT was 1440 degrees. The pilot became concerned about the EGT rating and that the engine "seemed to be spooling down" so he attempted to land the airplane. With the gear still extended, the airplane landed on the end of the runway, then went off the runway and collided with a woven deer fence before it came to a stop.
A review of photographs taken by the Texas Department of Public Safety revealed that the landing gear had collapsed, the right wing was displaced upwards and a portion of the leading edge was torn away from the wing.
The engine was examined on June 21, 2010, under the supervision of the Investigator-in-Charge and representatives from Lycoming engines and Piper Aircraft Incorporated. The engine was manually rotated via the propeller and compression and valve train continuity was established on each cylinder. Spark was produced to all ignition leads as well. The top spark plugs were removed and appeared dark in color.
The examination also revealed that the flexible hose and two clamps that connect the intercooler to the turbocharger outlet were not installed properly, which caused the flexible hose to slide out of position. This would have resulted in a higher EGT reading and "spooling down" of the engine as described by the pilot.
A review of the maintenance logbooks indicated that the engine had been overhauled in January 2007, and was installed on the airplane in February 2007, using the same propeller and accessories. There were no entries made after the engine was installed regarding maintenance to either the intercooler or the turbocharger. The last annual inspection was conducted on May 18, 2009.
The pilot held a private pilot certificate for airplane single and multi-engine land, and instrument airplane. He reported a total of 2,506 hours; of which, 263 hours were in the same make and model airplane. His last Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third class medical certificate was issued on July 24, 2008.