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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 20398
Last updated: 30 June 2020
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Type:Silhouette image of generic PA23 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Piper PA-23-160 Apache
Registration: N4080P
C/n / msn: 23-1557
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Bonelli Regional Park, San Dimas, CA -   United States of America
Phase: Initial climb
Departure airport:La Verne, CA (POC)
Destination airport:
Investigating agency: NTSB
The flight instructor intended to demonstrate the airplane to the pilot rated passenger. The owner of the flight school that owned the airplane said that the flight was not authorized and that she had no knowledge that the instructor was going to take the airplane. The owner said that the airplane had been down for an annual inspection for 6 weeks and the mechanic had not completed the work. The mechanic said the left main fuel tank was empty when he last worked on the airplane 4 days before the accident. No records were found indicating the airplane was refueled prior to the accident flight. The flight instructor claimed that during his preflight inspection, he checked the fuel by opening each fuel tank and estimated there were 25 gallons in each main tank. The instructor said that the left engine lost all power immediately after liftoff, but he did not abort the takeoff. He was unable to maintain airspeed and altitude and the airplane banked left and descended to ground impact. The passenger reported that the airplane "fishtailed" from right to left during the takeoff roll, and that he yelled at the instructor to abort the takeoff several times; however, the flight instructor continued the takeoff. After lifting off, the flight instructor held the control wheel in the full left aileron position and was trying to make left rudder inputs. The passenger yelled at the flight instructor to add right rudder as the instructor added left rudder trim. As the passenger was readjusting the rudder trim to the right, the airplane hit the ground. During examination of the wreckage, no fuel was noted in the left main tank, and 10 gallons of fuel were drained from the right main tank. The fuel selectors were positioned to the main tanks. No evidence of preimpact mechanical anomalies were noted during examination of the left and right engines. The owner's manual for the airplane states that if an engine fails after leaving the ground, but with sufficient landing area ahead, a landing should be effected immediately. The takeoff was on a 4,839-foot-long runway and the airplane likely became airborne in about 1,000 feet, and there was adequate distance left to land the airplane back on the runway.
Probable Cause: A loss of engine power in the left engine due to fuel starvation as a result of the pilot's inadequate preflight inspection and the pilot's failure to abort the takeoff following the power loss.



Revision history:

01-Jun-2008 12:11 Fusko Added
21-Dec-2016 19:14 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
21-Dec-2016 19:16 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
21-Dec-2016 19:20 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
03-Dec-2017 10:45 ASN Update Bot Updated [Operator, Other fatalities, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]

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