Witnesses Stated The Engine Was “Sputtering” And Did Not Sound Right On The First Takeoff

Location: Show Low, AZ Accident Number: WPR22FA188
Date & Time: May 25, 2022, 17:50 Local Registration: N5532R
Aircraft: Cessna 172F Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal

On May 25, 2022, about 1750 mountain standard time, a Cessna C-172F airplane, N5532P, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Show Low, Arizona. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was as operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight.

Witnesses at Show Low Regional Airport (SOW) observed the airplane attempt a takeoff from runway 25. They stated the airplane became airborne two or three times but did not climb out of ground effect. The airplane touched down as it approached the end of the runway and was observed as “getting squirrely” and sliding sideways. The pilot then taxied back to the approach end of runway 25 and performed a run-up before attempting a second takeoff. Two of the witnesses stated the engine was “sputtering” and did not sound right on the first takeoff and when it taxied back to the run-up area. The pilot then attempted a second takeoff. A pilot witness said the pilot “milked it off the runway, set it back down, and milked it off the runway again.” The airplane remained at a low altitude and began a left turn towards downwind.

When the airplane reached a downwind heading, the airplane sank out of sight behind terrain. The pilot witness said the engine “sounded rich, like it was bogged down,” during the second takeoff. The airplane impacted a stream in an open field about 1 mile southwest of the departure end of runway 25. The airplane was substantially damaged.

A postaccident examination of the airplane’s engine revealed that the No. 4 cylinder exhaust valve was seized, in the open position. The engine and No. 4 cylinder were retained for further examination.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov