The pilot was conducting an early morning repositioning flight of the Cessna 404. Shortly after takeoff, he reported to air traffic control that he had “lost an engine” and would return to the airport.
Several witnesses reported that the engines were running rough and one witness reported that he did not hear any engine sounds just before the crash. The airplane hit trees, a wooden enclosure, a chain-linked fence, and shrubs in a residential area in Englewood, Colo., and was damaged by the impact and postimpact fire. The pilot died in the crash.
The airplane had been parked outside for five days before the accident and had been plugged in to engine heaters the night before the flight. It was dark and snowing lightly at the time of the accident.
No deicing services were provided before the flight. The pilot mechanically removed all of the snow and ice accumulation.
The wreckage and witness statements were consistent with the airplane being in a right-wing-low descent, but it did not appear to be out of control. Neither of the propellers were at or near the feathered position.
The emergency procedures published by the manufacturer for a loss of engine power stated that pilots should first secure the engine and feather the propeller following a loss of engine power and then turn the fuel selector for that engine to “off.”
The procedures also cautioned that continued flight might not be possible if the propeller was not feathered.
The right fuel selector valve and panel were found in the off position.
Investigators were not able to determine why an experienced pilot did not follow the emergency procedures and immediately secure the engine following the loss of engine power.
It is not known how much snow and ice had accumulated on the airplane leading up to the accident flight or if the pilot was successful in removing all of the snow and ice with only mechanical means.
While possible, it could not be determined if water or ice ingestion lead to the loss of engine power at takeoff.
The NTSB determined the probable cause as the loss of power to the right engine for reasons that could not be determined and the pilot’s failure to properly configure the airplane for single-engine flight.
NTSB Identification: CEN15FA090
This December 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.