- Associated Press - Monday, December 3, 2018

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A drill bit left during repair of a single-engine Cessna aircraft is responsible for a 2015 crash in Arkansas that caused minor injuries to the pilot and destroyed the new $712,290 aircraft, a federal lawsuit alleged.

The complaint filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Kansas against Textron Aviation in U.S. by Mid-Continent Aircraft Corp. of Missouri and its insurance company involves the purchase of a 2014 Cessna T206H Stationair TC aircraft.

The lawsuit alleges the misplaced drill bit was the cause of the crash and that Cessna’s parent company Textron refuses to pay for the loss of the aircraft.

Textron declined to comment on the pending litigation.

During a pre-acceptance test flight, a problem was found in the left magneto, a self-contained electrical generator which fires the engine spark plugs.

Wichita, Kansas-based Cessna Aircraft Company replaced the faulty magneto and noted in the plane’s maintenance logbook that aircraft was airworthy, according to the lawsuit.

Mid-Continent took delivery of aircraft N164CS on April 3, 2015. The following month, the plane crashed during takeoff from Piggott Municipal Airport in Arkansas.

The National Transportation Safety Board’s report of the May 15, 2015, accident said the airplane was about 20 to 30 feet in the air when the engine “surged” before losing power. The airplane settled back down to the ground, but was traveling too fast to stop on the remaining runway. It came to rest in an irrigation ditch near the runway. The pilot’s air bag deployed during the accident.

When investigators took apart the failed magneto, they found a section of a drill bit about 3/8 of an inch long inside it, according to the NTSB report.

Mid-Continent said in its lawsuit that its insurer, National Union Fire Insurance Company, paid $699,000 for the insured loss. Mid-Continent has another $13,290 in uninsured losses.

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