NTSB Identification: CHI94LA062.
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Accident occurred Thursday, January 13, 1994 in HIGHLAND, IN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/13/1995
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-236, registration: N8117Z
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

WHILE FLYING IN INSTRUMENT METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS THE AIRPLANE'S ELECTRICAL SYSTEM CEASED OPERATING. ESTIMATING ONE HOUR OF FUEL REMAINING, THE PILOT DESCENDED THROUGH THE CLOUDS IN SEARCH OF AN AIRPORT. ONCE BELOW THE CLOUDS, THE PILOT STATED, HE ENCOUNTERED RAPIDLY DECREASING VISIBILITY DUE TO SNOW AND DARKENING SKY. AFTER APPROXIMATELY 45 MINUTES OF FLYING, THE PILOT LANDED THE AIRPLANE IN A FARM FIELD. DURING THE LANDING ROLL THE AIRPLANE'S LEFT MAIN LANDING GEAR AND NOSE GEAR SEPARATED FROM THE AIRFRAME. AN ON-SCENE INVESTIGATION REVEALED A DISCONNECTED ALTERNATOR BELT. THE ALTERNATOR'S MOUNTING LUG HAD SEPARATED FROM THE UNIT ALLOWING THE ALTERNATOR TO MOVE AWAY FROM ITS ENGINE MOUNTING. THE TYPE OF FRACTURE COULD NOT BE DETERMINED DUE TO SURFACE POLISHING.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

An electrical system failure due to a fractured alternator mounting lug. Factors related to the accident were the rough terrain, and decreasing visibility due to snow and darkness.

Full narrative available

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