The pilot noted no discrepancies during the preflight inspection, engine run-up, or start of the takeoff, however, when the Piper PA-28-140 was about 200 feet above the end of the runway, the engine “coughed,” and the plane began losing altitude.
Power was restored briefly, but the engine subsequently quit.
The pilot landed the airplane straight ahead and touched down in an abandoned field with high grass in Lancaster, N.Y.
The nose landing gear hit rising terrain, which resulted in the gear collapsing.
Post-accident examination of the carburetor revealed that the bowl assembly could be moved by hand pressure in relation to the throttle body assembly.
Although the carburetor bowl was loose and such a condition is the subject of a service bulletin, the pilot could not have detected this condition during her preflight inspection. It likely did not exist when the engine was last inspected nearly 10 months before the accident.
During dynamic testing of the carburetor with down clamping force applied on its top portion, a slightly richer-than-specified fuel flow was noted. However, the color of the spark plugs was consistent with a lean-mixture condition. Thus, it is unlikely that the carburetor’s condition contributed to the loss of engine power. The reason for the loss of engine power could not be determined.
Probable cause: The loss of engine power during takeoff for reasons that could not be determined.
NTSB Identification: ERA15LA187
This April 2015 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.