Details Emerge in Fatal Beach Accident

** The pilot and passenger were uninjured. (Photo: Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office)**

The National Transportation Safety Board has released its initial report regarding an accident that occurred on July 27 in Venice, Florida, in which a man and his daughter were killed. The two people were playing in shallow water at a local beach when a Piper Cherokee made a forced landing. The pilot and his passenger were not injured, but the four-seat airplane was substantially damaged, according to the report.

The pilot told an FAA inspector that the Piper had not flown for more than three months, but the engine was showing no signs of ill health during the runup and the fuel tanks were both more than half full. About 10 to 15 minutes into the flight the engine quit. The airplane was then about 1,000 feet over the water off the Venice shoreline.

In fear of the airplane flipping over if he landed in deep water, the pilot turned toward the shoreline and aimed for a spot where he thought there were no people. Unfortunately the father and daughter were right in the airplane's path.

The nosewheel was torn off the airframe, but only one of the propeller blades was bent, indicating that the airplane struck land with no engine power.

An investigation by the NTSB found the fuel selector off, magnetos off, mixture rich, throttle forward and carburetor heat off. The investigators were able to get the engine restarted and, after straightening the bent propeller blade, ran the engine up to 2,000 rpm. The fuel lines and vents also appeared to be clear. The investigation will now turn to the electrical, air induction and fuel delivery systems.

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Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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