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N7640E accident description

Arkansas map... Arkansas list
Crash location 34.833056°N, 92.253889°W
Nearest city North Little Rock, AR
34.769536°N, 92.267094°W
4.5 miles away
Tail number N7640E
Accident date 23 May 2008
Aircraft type Downer Bellanca 14-19-3
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On May 23, 2008, at 1640 central daylight time, a Downer Bellanca 14-19-3 single-engine airplane, N7640E, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing following a loss of engine power during takeoff from the North Little Rock Municipal Airport, North Little Rock, Arkansas. The private pilot and four passengers were not injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed for the Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

Prior to the flight, the airplane's fuel tanks were topped off with fuel, and the airplane pre-flight was normal. During initial takeoff climb approximately 200 feet above ground level (agl), the pilot retracted the landing gear and the engine lost power. Prior to the loss of engine power, the pilot did not hear a bang, sputter, or any indication of an engine problem. The pilot attempted to restart the engine; however, the restart was unsuccessful. The pilot initiated a forced landing and tried to land on the remaining runway surface. The airplane touched down off the runway surface, impacted terrain, and came to rest upright. Examination of the airplane showed the wing spars were damaged and the main landing gear penetrated the top wing skins.

Federal Aviation Administration inspectors performed a detailed inspection of the airframe and engine. Per the original aircraft drawings, the inspectors noted that the mixture and throttle cables were routed incorrectly, and the two cables were longer than the original cables. The original drawings showed that the cables exited the firewall and were routed up to the center cylinders and looped back to the fuel control unit. The accident airplane cables exited the firewall and were routed up to the forward cylinders (in proximity of the nose landing gear retraction assembly), and then looped back 180 degrees to the fuel control unit. The fuel control unit was mounted under and aft of the engine. The inspector noted contact with the mixture cable and the nose landing gear retraction assembly.

The pilot stated that the airplane underwent an annual inspection in November 2007. The aircraft logbooks were not located. In the days prior to the accident, the pilot experienced "engine roughness." The local mechanic stated he replaced the sparks plugs as a corrective action, and no additional maintenance was performed. After the sparks plugs were replaced, a engine run-up was performed with no anomalies.

NTSB Probable Cause

The loss of engine power due to the incorrect and improper installation of throttle and mixture cables by unknown maintenance personnel.

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