NTSB Identification: ATL96TA047.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, February 13, 1996 in WINDERMERE, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/11/1996
Aircraft: PIPER PA-32-300, registration: N8951N
Injuries: 1 Minor.
NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this public aircraft accident report.
The flight departed Kissimmee, Florida, on a forest fire spotting mission. The engine began to run rough and lost power. The airplane landed in an orange grove, striking a tree. An engine examination revealed that improper connecting rod bolts had been used in the engine. The bolts in two connecting rods failed, resulting in the failure of the engine. Investigation determined that the bolts were manufactured in the '80s and became available in the U.S. market in February 1994. The bolts were obtained by a repair station on June 1994 and installed in connecting rod assemblies that were in storage. The overhaul date on the work order for the stored rod assemblies was not changed at that time, and it continued to indicate an overhaul date of 2/9/94. The stored rod assemblies were then installed in the engine during an overhaul in October 1994. In March 1995, an AD was issued to inspect engines with connecting rod bolts installed on or since 2/15/94. The AD was not complied with on the engine because the repair station certified that the rod assemblies had been overhauled on 2/9/94, before the effective date of the AD.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: the use of improper connecting rod bolts, failure of the overhaul facility to record the correct overhaul date on the work orders for the stored connecting rod assemblies, and subsequent failure of the connecting rod bolts. Full narrative available
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