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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 133284
Last updated: 8 September 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic PA30 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Piper PA-30 Twin Comanche
Owner/operator:Wilson Oliver Agency Inc
Registration: N3TH
MSN: 30-1896
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:near Interstate Highway I-81, Fairfield, Virginia -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Baltimore, MD (MTN)
Destination airport:Roanoke, VA (ROA)
The airplane was in cruise flight at 6,000 feet in below zero temperatures when the right engine stopped producing power. The pilot entered a left-hand orbit and attempted an engine restart. After several orbits, the left engine stopped producing power. The pilot completed a forced landing to a field that destroyed the airplane. Examination of the wreckage revealed evidence of fuel at the scene with the left fuel selector in the 'Auxiliary' position and the right selector in the 'Main' position. The right fuel selector filter element bowl could not be freed after removal of the mount screws. The bowl was pried free and the filter element screens were found completely occluded with ice. An FAA Airworthiness Directive (AD), 'To eliminate water contamination of the aircraft fuel supply', that mandated compliance every 50 hours of operation, had not been complied with in 16 calendar months and 234 hours of operation. The Owner's Handbook stated auxiliary fuel and tip tank fuel should be used in level flight only, and that the single engine service ceiling was approximately 5,800 feet, at maximum gross weight. Both engines started and ran to rated power in a test cell.

Probable Cause: The owner's failure to comply with the Airworthiness Directive and the subsequent fuel system filter blockage by ice leading to fuel starvation and power loss of the right engine. Additionally, the pilot's improper selection of the left auxiliary fuel tank position and the subsequent fuel starvation and power loss of the left engine. Contributing factors were low temperature (below freezing) conditions and the pilot's failure to follow procedures delineated in the Owner's Handbook.


FAA register: NTSB:
FAA register: 2. FAA:

Revision history:

21-Dec-2016 19:26 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
08-Apr-2017 20:25 Dr.John Smith Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Location, Phase, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
08-Apr-2017 20:27 Dr.John Smith Updated [Narrative]
25-Nov-2017 12:49 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Cn, Operator, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
14-Dec-2017 16:56 ASN Update Bot Updated [Cn, Operator, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
15-Jul-2019 09:23 BEAVERSPOTTER Updated [Cn, Source, Narrative]

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