Cessna 320 down in San Marcos

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    Here is another sad and unnecessary accident. It happened last month in San Marcos, Texas. The airplane was painted by Tejas and sat around in San Marcos for 8 months. The FBO guys told me the left engine was not running smoothly but the owner said it normally did this and it would clear itself out after you ran it for a while. The radios and transponder were not working either. The amazing part about the accident is that the day before the accident – a beautiful day with blue skies – the owner sat around the airport all day just “shooting the breeze”. Besides Tejas, there is an avionics and aircraft maintenance shop on the field which could have taken a look if asked.

    On the morning of the accident, it was still dark and there was thick fog. The owner said he wanted to leave before the tower opened at 7:00 am since he had no radios. He asked the line guys which way was Austin and asked for directions to Runway 17 (odd since it was the farthest from the ramp). That was the last they saw of this poor soul.

    One article says the man was conducting a “test flight” – at night, with fog and no flight plan.




    Why must people make obviously bad decisions like this?

    A rough-running engine that clears itself out is usually a sign of a problem that needs to be fixed. Taking off in thick fog on a test flight? We need a shakes head smiley.


    Being that I am right down the road, I have heard this from one of the mechanics on the field. While I personally wasn’t there, the source is credible, so take it for what you will. The owner actually had a mechanic come check the low side fuel controller and they were able to get the engine to run at idle smoothly (it wouldn’t during the ground run after painting). However, the mechanic told the owner that some high power test runs needed to be conducted as he didn’t feel the issue had been fixed. No flights or high speed/power runs were noted and the rest is history.

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