Power Loss Shortly After Takeoff

Location: East Hampton, NY Accident Number: ERA20LA163
Date & Time: 04/25/2020, 1340 EDT Registration: N33005
Aircraft: Piper PA28 Injuries: 3 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation – Personal

On April 25, 2020, about 1340 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-28-151, N33005, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near East Hampton Airport (HTO), East Hampton, New York. The pilot and two passengers were not injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to the pilot, they departed Igor I Sikorsky Memorial Airport (BDR), Bridgeport, Connecticut about 1045. He landed at HTO about 1115 and parked the airplane. He subsequently returned to the airplane with the passengers about 1315. The pilot then reviewed the weather and performed a preflight inspection of the airplane with no anomalies noted.

The pilot started the engine and taxied to the delta intersection of runway 28, where he performed the engine run-up procedure and configured the airplane for takeoff. During the takeoff roll, the oil pressure was good, and the engine was running normally, but after rotation during the climb, the pilot noticed a vibration and diminished engine power, though the throttle was in the full throttle position. At 400 or 500 ft mean seal level (msl), the engine began sputtering. The pilot made a 180° turn to the right and entered the right downwind leg of the traffic pattern for runway 28 at an altitude of 300 to 400 ft msl.

As the airplane proceeded on the downwind, the engine continued to sputter and then incurred a total loss of power. The airplane descended and the pilot made a right turn toward runway 10, reduced the throttle to the idle position, pitched to 73 mph (best glide speed), and checked that the electric fuel pump, master switch, and magnetos were on. The airplane touched down about 3/4 down the runway, went off the end, through a deer fence and came to rest in a field.

Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed substantial damage to both wings and the fuselage. The propeller displayed scratches on the leading edges of both blades with no curling of the blade tips. No visible damage was present in the engine compartment. No oil or fuel leaks were noted. Engine oil on the dipstick showed the correct level and appeared clean. Examination of the throttle, mixture and carburetor heat controls revealed that they were intact, displayed correct movement, and no evidence of binding. The left wing and right wing fuel tanks were sampled, and no debris or water contamination was visible. Examination of the fuel strainer showed no debris or water, and fuel was present in both wing tanks with the fuel quantities at a level just below the tabs. The drive train was rotated by turning the propeller and compression was evident on all four cylinders.

After the examination, the fuel selector was turned on, the engine was primed using the electric fuel pump and started. The engine was first idled at 1,200 rpm, and then power was increased to 1,500 rpm. The engine ran normally, and no vibrations or sputtering were noted. After 8 minutes, the engine was shut down.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov