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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 195186
Last updated: 5 July 2020
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Type:Silhouette image of generic PA32 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Piper PA-32-260 Cherokee Six
Registration: N3457W
C/n / msn: 32-326
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:South of Snohomish County Airport (Paine Field) (KPAE), Everett, WA -   United States of America
Phase: Take off
Departure airport:Everett, WA (PAE)
Destination airport:Klamath Falls, OR (LMT)
Investigating agency: NTSB
The private pilot reported that, during the initial climb shortly after takeoff, the airplane lost partial engine power. He tried a series of troubleshooting steps, but with limited time available, he then performed a forced landing onto a street just beyond the runway. The airplane impacted power transmission cables and traffic lights during the descent, rupturing both wingtip fuel tanks and spraying ignited fuel onto cars at the intersection below. The airplane sustained substantial damage when it collided with the ground and came to rest on the street.
The airplane had been fueled almost to capacity just before takeoff and postaccident examination did not reveal any anomalies with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation. Examination of the carburetor revealed multiple maintenance-related discrepancies, all of which could have resulted in a loss of engine power. One of the discrepancies was related to the float, which appeared to have been touching the wall of the carburetor bowl. A witness reported visible exhaust emissions coming from the engine during flight, and the spark plugs were coated in black soot. Both observations were indicative of an excessively rich fuel-to-air mixture, consistent with a stuck carburetor float. As such, the loss of engine power was likely the result of a stuck carburetor float.
Based on atmospheric conditions, carburetor icing could not be ruled out; however, the airplane began the takeoff ground roll almost immediately after the pilot performed the engine runup, which included the application of carburetor heat, and it is unlikely that the loss of engine power was the result of carburetor icing.
The pilot accepted an intersection takeoff due to a passenger jet performing taxi tests at the approach end of the runway. Had he chosen to use the full runway length, he likely would have had enough runway available to safely land the airplane following the loss of power.

Probable Cause: The improper maintenance of the carburetor, which resulted in a stuck float and a partial loss of engine power during takeoff.



FAA register:

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 7 months
Download report: Final report

Revision history:

02-May-2017 23:36 Geno Added
02-May-2017 23:38 Geno Updated [Aircraft type, Source]
02-May-2017 23:56 Geno Updated [Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Phase, Source]
03-May-2017 11:19 harro Updated [Embed code]
03-May-2017 17:15 cole.goldberg Updated [Nature, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
22-May-2017 18:26 Anon. Updated [Destination airport]
28-Nov-2018 14:44 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Operator, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Embed code, Narrative, Accident report, ]

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