Merlin Had Engine Problems before Crash

 - April 25, 2007, 9:15 AM

The pilot of the Merlin twin turboprop that crash-landed at Teterboro Airport, N.J., on May 31 followed a flight in which he had aborted his first takeoff from Nantucket Memorial Airport, Mass. He told Nantucket tower that he had a problem and was “trying it again.” His second takeoff attempt was successful, but on final approach to Teterboro he transmitted that he had “an engine surging and another engine that seems like I lost control or speed.” The crash substantially damaged the airplane (N22DW) and seriously injured the sole-occupant pilot. The pilot added 200 gallons of jet-A in Nantucket before his departure and following the crash the NTSB took a sample of fuel from the fuel filter of each engine. The left engine sample was pink and had an odor not consistent with jet fuel. The right engine sample was clear and did have an odor consistent with jet fuel. Both samples tested negative for water, but further fuel analysis is under way. A sample of fuel was taken from the truck that fueled the airplane, and no contamination or water was noted. Additionally, three aircraft that were fueled by the same truck after the accident airplane reported no anomalies with the fuel.