Poor maintenance leads to crash

Aircraft: Cessna 172. Injuries: None. Location: Pineville, La. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: Following the installation of an overhauled engine and the completion of an annual inspection, the pilot/mechanic who performed the work elected to fly the airplane.

During takeoff the engine indications were normal and the airplane climbed to about 500 feet AGL when the engine lost power. The pilot/mechanic attempted to turn 180° back toward the airport. He overshot the runway and the airplane sustained substantial damage during an off-airport forced landing.

FAA inspectors who responded to the scene discovered that the throttle control linkage was not connected to the carburetor throttle plate arm and that the associated bolt, castellated nut, and cotter pin were missing. The pilot/mechanic stated that he had connected the throttle control linkage but could not remember if he had installed the cotter pin.

Probable cause: The pilot/mechanic’s improper inspection of the airplane following the engine installation.

NTSB Identification: CEN11CA062

This November 2010 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.

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