Improperly installed control cables contribute to crash

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During an instructional flight, the Piper PA-24-250 pilot said he had to extend the downwind leg of the traffic pattern while on approach to Wilkes-Barre Wyoming Valley Airport (KWBW) in Pennsylvania due to a departing aircraft.

He turned on to the base leg at an altitude of 1,000 feet above ground level (agl) and extended the landing gear, but the gear did not fully extend. He said the gear-handle was “stuck.”

He removed the access door for the emergency landing gear extension handle, but he could not get it to release.

At this point, the flight instructor said, “You better put power in,” but there was no response from the engine and the tachometer read “0.”

The airplane was unable to reach the runway and the pilot made a forced landing to a soccer field. The airplane hit a ditch, resulting in substantial damage to the airframe. All three propeller blades were also damaged.

According to the flight instructor, the pilot extended the landing gear on the base leg of the traffic pattern, but it extended mid-way and stopped. The pilot then said, “the engine quit.”

The flight instructor noted that the mixture control was “jammed up sideways” in the full rich position and could not be moved.

A post-accident examination of the airplane and engine revealed no obvious pre-mishap mechanical issues with the landing gear system or the engine.

However, the pilot subsequently admitted that he knew what caused the simultaneous loss of engine power and the landing gear malfunction. He said the mixture cable got caught on the nose wheel assembly when it was trying to extend, which caused the mixture control on the carburetor to move to the lean position.

The pilot said that after the forced landing, and against the advice of his flight instructor, he opened the engine cowling and saw the mixture cable caught in the nose gear structure and unsnagged the cable so it was not immediately obvious to investigators.

The pilot, who was also an airframe and powerplant mechanic, performed maintenance on the landing gear a few weeks before the accident. He retracted the gear 10-12 times and it worked “flawlessly.” He said he used plastic tie-wraps to make sure the throttle/mixture/carburetor heat cables were positioned away from the nose-gear, which does not have a protected well on this airplane.

He last flew the airplane about a month before the accident. After he

This post was originally published by General Aviation News on . Please visit the original post to read the complete article.

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