NTSB Identification: LAX97LA018.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, October 15, 1996 in KINGSBURG, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/30/1997
Aircraft: Cessna 172P, registration: N6187K
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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

As a student pilot was en route on his third supervised solo cross-country flight, the engine suddenly began running rough. Oil was observed to cover most of the front windscreen. Subsequently, the engine lost power, the student made a forced landing in a clearing, and the airplane collided with a tree and a building. An FAA inspector performed an examination of the wreckage, and observed a 2-inch diameter hole in the engine's upper case in the vicinity of the number 2 cylinder. A further examination revealed that the connecting rod to the number 2 piston was disconnected from the piston due to a failure of the piston skirt in the piston pin area. The rings on all pistons appeared to have been sticking, with over temperature signatures noted on all the intake and exhaust valves. The tops of the piston were abnormally clean. The engine had a total time of 3,794.5 hours since new and 1,987.0 hours since the last major overhaul.

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

the student pilot's use of an excessively lean mixture, which led to engine overheating, detonation, subsequent failure of the number 2 piston, and a forced landing.

Full narrative available

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