CEN11LA097
CEN11LA097

On December 4, 2010, about 1430 central standard time, a Piper PA 46-350P, N350MM, ditched in the Gulf of Mexico following a complete loss of engine power. The commercial pilot and the three passengers were not injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by Sidestick LLC., of Wilmington, Delaware. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The cross-country flight had originated at 1200, from the Cozumel International Airport (MMCZ), Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico, and was en route to the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (KMSY), New Orleans, Louisiana.

The pilot reported that 2 hours into the flight he heard a noticeable change in engine noise and observed erratic engine torque readings. Moments later the airplane experienced a complete loss of engine power. After declaring an emergency, the pilot attempted to locate the problem by changing fuel tanks, activating the emergency fuel pumps, and checking the ignition, battery, and fuel cut off positions. Between 15,000 and 20,000 feet mean sea level (MSL), the pilot feathered the propeller and attempted 4 different engine restarts to no avail. As they descended, the pilot provided air traffic control (ATC) with position reports and prepared the passengers for the impending water landing. After the successful water landing near an oil rig platform, the pilot and passengers were picked up by oil rig personnel.

The airplane ditched 175 miles from KMSY and over 100 miles from land. The water depth in the area was reported to be in excess of 5,000 feet. The wreckage was not recovered; therefore, a reason for the loss of engine power could not be determined.

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