Preliminary Accident Reports

December 2008 Issue

October 14, 2008, Portland, Ore., Piper PA-31-350

The airplane sustained substantial damage to its left rear wing spar after the left engine caught fire shortly after takeoff. The commercial pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed. The pilot later reported she was 1000 feet agl when she noticed the left engine’s manifold pressure had dropped about six inches below the right engine’s indications. The engine was surging, and she thought that the turbocharger had stopped operating. She returned for landing, noting the CHT was reading zero degrees but all other gauges were normal. After landing, the left engine died.

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