Accident American Aviation AA-1A Trainer N12YT, Friday 15 May 2020
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Date:Friday 15 May 2020
Time:13:57 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic AA1 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
American Aviation AA-1A Trainer
Registration: N12YT
MSN: AA1A-0376
Year of manufacture:1972
Total airframe hrs:1366 hours
Engine model:Lycoming O-235-C2C
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Blythe Airport (BLH/KBLH), Blythe, CA -   United States of America
Phase: Take off
Departure airport:Blythe Airport, CA (BLH/KBLH)
Destination airport:Tucson, AZ
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
The pilot was departing for a personal cross-county flight. Shortly after takeoff and about 50 ft above ground level, the engine lost partial power, and the airspeed decayed. Despite the pilot attempts to gain airspeed by confirming that the throttle and mixture levers were full forward, he did not lower the airplane's nose at the first indication of an engine power loss to maintain airspeed. As a result, the airplane's critical angle of attack was exceeded, and the airplane subsequently stalled and struck terrain.

Review of performance data in the pilot's operating manual for the airplane indicated that given the accident conditions, the airplane should have had the performance to adequately climb. A weather study revealed no significant weather in the immediate vicinity of the airport.

Postaccident examination of the engine revealed that the left magneto's wiring harness had excessive wear from being twisted and zip-tied near the distributor cap. All four wires were noted to have exposed center conductors that contacted their shielding. When tested, the wires intermittently failed to conduct current and sporadically arced, which likely resulted in the loss of engine power after takeoff.

Probable Cause: The excessive wear of one magneto's wiring harness, which resulted in a loss of engine power during takeoff. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's failure to maintain airspeed following the loss of engine power, which resulted in exceedance of the critical angle of attack and a subsequent aerodynamic stall.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: WPR20LA148
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years 1 month
Download report: Final report




Revision history:

19-May-2020 08:13 Captain Adam Added
21-Jun-2021 07:18 aaronwk Updated [Time, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
03-Jul-2022 05:47 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Other fatalities, Destination airport, Source, Narrative, Category, Accident report]

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