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Tue, May 09, 2023

NTSB Prelim: Maule MXT-7-180

Pilot (On Unicom Frequency) Report(ed) That He Had Engine Problems Immediately After Takeoff

Location: La Porte, TX Accident Number: CEN23FA164
Date & Time: April 24, 2023, 08:46 Local Registration: N4008J
Aircraft: Maule MXT-7-180 Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Other work use

 

On April 24, 2023, about 0846 central daylight time, a Maule MXT-7-180 airplane was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Laporte, Texas. The pilot sustained serious injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 pipeline patrol flight.

According to the operator, the flight was intended to takeoff from Laporte, Municipal Airport (T41), Laporte, Texas, to aerial-inspect pipelines. Witnesses, who were flying in the pattern at T41, reported that they heard the pilot on Unicom frequency report that he had engine problems immediately after takeoff from runway 05 and was returning to the airport to land. The airplane was observed in a left turn by the witnesses and appeared to be lining up to land on runway 23. They saw the airplane make another “teardrop” left turn and descend toward the ground, about 300-feet from the approach end of runway 05. Automated Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) data of the airplane’s flight track confirmed the witnesses’ observations. After emergency responders arrived at the accident site, the pilot was air lifted to a local hospital with critical injuries.

The airplane impacted the flat, wet, and grass-covered ground on a magnetic heading of about 091-degrees. Wreckage deformations and ground scars were consistent with airplane contact with the ground in a nose-low, right-wing down attitude. The forward section of the cockpit was crushed upward. The engine was partially attached to its mounts and the propeller assembly was separated from the crank. The right-wing was crushed aft from its leading edge along most of its span. The left wing was bent and crushed aft along the outer part of its leading edge.

About 40 gallons of aviation fuel was drained from the airplane wreckage. Fuel samples taken from the airplane’s fuel tanks were observed to be clear of contaminants, and fuel samples taken from the refueling source were found to be clear of contaminants. The airframe was examined, and no pre-impact anomalies were found. Flight control continuity was confirmed from the cockpit to all flight control surfaces. Detailed examination of the engine, engine accessories and carburetor did not reveal any pre-impact anomalies. However, the intake side of the airbox filter element was contaminated with unidentified dust/debris. 

The nearest weather reporting facility (EFD), located about 6 miles from the accident site, issued a METAR at 0854 CDT. METAR KEFD 241354Z 010009KT 10SM BKN070 14/09 A3008

According to the carburetor icing probability chart, with a temperature of 14 degrees C and a dew point of 9 degrees C (+5 dewpoint depression), the airplane was operating within the range conducive to serious carburetor icing at any power.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov 

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