The Piper PA 32-300 had been parked on the ramp at the airport in Ardmore, Okla., for two or three months waiting for completion of engine maintenance work. The evening before the accident, the pilot and the passenger, who held a mechanic certificate, were seen replacing the engine’s Nos. 4 and 6 cylinders.
On the day of the accident, after a test run-up, the engine cowling was installed, and the airplane departed.
Witnesses reported that the airplane used most of the 5,000-foot runway before lifting off and did not appear to be climbing normally when it disappeared out of sight.
The passenger reported that, about the time the airplane became airborne, he heard a “metallic pop.”
Unable to stop the airplane on the runway in the remaining distance, the pilot continued the takeoff.
The passenger added that the engine continued to run, but the airplane was not able to climb above a set of wires.
Examination of the accident site determined that the airplane’s landing gear struck a transmission power line, and the airplane hit terrain about 0.82 mile southeast of the airport, seriously injuring one and killing another person.
Although the engine continued to run after takeoff, it is likely that it was not generating full power, and the airplane was unable to climb sufficiently to clear power lines.
A post-crash fire consumed most of the airplane’s cabin, part of the wings, and portions of the engine.
Due to fire damage, only a limited examination of the airframe and engine could be done, but that did not reveal any pre-impact abnormalities.
The NTSB determined the probable cause as the partial loss of engine power for reasons that could not be determined because thermal damage to the engine prevented a complete examination.
NTSB Identification: CEN14FA434
This August 2014 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.