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NTSB Prelim: Beech K35

The Pilot Adjusted The Propeller Control To Reduce Engine RPM But There Was No Response

Location: Front Royal, VA Accident Number: ERA24LA139
Date & Time: March 12, 2024, 19:02 Local Registration: N59MK
Aircraft: Beech K35 Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Aerial observation

On March 12, 2024, about 1902 eastern standard time, a Beech K35, N59MK, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Front Royal, Virginia. The pilot was not injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 aerial observation flight.

The airplane departed from Shannon Airport (EZF), Fredericksburg, Virginia at 1301 for a survey flight. While approaching the survey area, the pilot described that propeller control was unresponsive when he attempted to reduce engine rpm. The propeller control began to respond just prior to entering the intended survey area, so the pilot continued the flight. While conducting the survey work, the pilot noted that the No. 3 cylinder exhaust gas temperature was lower than normal, so he elected to pause the survey work and climb. 

At 6,300 ft msl, the pilot adjusted the propeller control to reduce engine rpm but there was no response. Shortly after, the rpm spiked followed by a loss of engine power. The pilot reviewed the emergency checklist and adjusted the airplane’s pitch to maintain best glide speed. While heading toward Front Royal-Warren County Airport (FRR), Front Royal, Virginia, the pilot began preparing for a forced landing and picked a field to his left. During the off-airport landing, the airplane contacted trees on the edge of the field before coming to rest upright. The pilot was uninjured. 

A cursory postaccident examination of the wreckage revealed that the outboard portions of both wings had separated near their mid-span points and the fuselage was damaged aft of the cabin. The wreckage was retained for further examination. 

FMI: www.ntsb.gov

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