June 08, Rio Rico, Ariz. / Piper Apache


At about 1405 mountain time, a Piper PA-23-160 crashed about three miles west of Nogales International Airport, killing all three aboard. The airplane had been rented in Chandler by an applicant for a CFI-MEI certificate. Also aboard were a CFI and a private, multi-engine pilot. The designated examiner who was scheduled to give the CFI practical test said he was conducting the test when, on engine start, he noted the left engine did not produce sufficient power. He canceled the flight for mechanical reasons. The instructor pilot consulted with the operators mechanic and apparently concluded the return flight to Chandler could be made safely. The examiner observed the CFI applicant sitting in the right front seat, the private pilot in the left seat and the instructor pilot in the middle row of seats. He watched the takeoff and noted the airplane yawed to the left and re-centered on the runway three times, and then it proceeded to accelerate slowly. The airplane abruptly pitched up about 3,300 feet down the runway and the landing gear was retracted. The airplane began to settle toward the runway, the nose pitched level, and the airplane accelerated and began a slow climb. Witnesses at the accident location reported that they did not hear an engine sound, but did see both propellers moving. They saw the airplane veer to the left to avoid a residence, strike the ground and cartwheel. Examination of both engines revealed signs consistent with spark plug oil- and carbon fouling.


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