On May 5, 2012, approximately 1500 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-28R-201T, N442G, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a loss of engine power after takeoff from Williston Municipal Airport (X60), Williston, Florida. The certificated airline transport pilot and three passengers were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which departed Ocala International Airport (OCF), Ocala, Florida, approximately 1420. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The pilot stated that the purpose of the flight was to conduct local sightseeing, as well as touch-and-go practice takeoffs and landings at X60. During the third takeoff, at an altitude of about 400 feet and while the airplane's landing gear was retracting, the engine experienced a loss of power. The pilot could not quantify the decrease in rpm, but stated that the power being generated by the engine was “minimal.” The pilot elected to turn the airplane and land, gear-up, in a grassy area to the side of the crosswind runway.

Postaccident examination by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed substantial damage to the left wing. The fuel selector was found in the right wing tank position, and both left and right wing tanks were approximately half full.

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land and sea, and an airline transport certificate with a rating for airplane multiengine land, as well as numerous type ratings. He reported 23,230 hours total flight time, of which 11 hours were in the accident airplane make and model. His most recent FAA first-class medical certificate was issued in April 2012.

The airplane was manufactured in 1977, and was equipped with a 200 hp, Continental TSIO-360 turbocharged reciprocating engine. The airplane’s most recent annual inspection was completed on November 4, 2011. The airplane had accumulated 49 flight hours since the annual inspection, and a total time of 3,234.7 hours as of the date of the accident. The engine had accumulated 206.8 hours since its most recent overhaul.

The 1450 weather observation at OCF, located approximately 17 miles southeast of the accident site, included clear skies, winds from 160 degrees at 5 knots, temperature 33 degrees C, dew point 15 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.94 inches of mercury.

A test run of the engine was performed under FAA supervision. The airplane was not defueled, and only the fuel on board at the time of the accident was used for the engine run. Prior to the test, an undamaged propeller was installed on the engine. The engine started on the first attempt, and accelerated without hesitation when power was applied. A magneto check was performed with no anomalies noted. The fuel selector was manipulated between the left and right wing tanks, with no interruption of fuel flow observed. Engine power was reduced to idle, and the engine decelerated and ran smoothly. No abnormal engine indications were observed during the test. A visual inspection of the exhaust system revealed no anomalies.

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